Gordon Price and I discussed how international cities are responding to Covid-19’s barriers by making it easier for residents to physically remove the required two or six feet while using the city’s streets and spaces. These cities have also developed strategies to best support companies in their staged and, in some places, staggered reopening. The key to supporting local businesses is to make it easier for citizens to walk or cycle to shops and services, and to design the areas where consumers need to conveniently and conveniently wait for their physically distant time in shops.
An example of a mayor and council adapting to and implementing the new normal is the city of London, UK. There, Mayor Sadiq Khan acknowledges that the recovery after Covid-19, the use of individual vehicles and the challenges of physical distancing “the biggest challenge for London’s public transport network in the history of Transport for London. “
Matthew Taylor in the Guardian writes about London’s struggle to keep the number of people who use public transport to physically distance themselves low. London also needs to ensure that public transport trips are not replaced by cars, which would lead to congestion and increased air pollution.
London’s answer is to use streets for other purposes Hiking, biking and transit only One of the largest car-free initiatives in the world unlocks Covid-19. Private vehicles and trucks are also banned from several bridges. Work on implementing the plan has already started and will be completed in six weeks. In addition, the congestion fee for each vehicle traveling to central London increases from £ 11.50 (£ 20) to £ 15 (£ 25) each way.
This is a community-coordinated approach that looks at how cities can thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic. Vancouver, however, lacks the ability of the council to help businesses and citizens in times of crisis. Gordon Price wrote in this article about the Council’s lack of enthusiasm. Journalist was noted Daphne Bramham, who so emphatically said the following in the Vancouver Sun:
“Vancouver was not designed with physical distance in mind. “Even when most stores are closed, pedestrians had to use lanes to find their way outside of grocery stores, pharmacies and liquor stores.
There are also challenges for citizens to use regular hiking and biking trails to get access to shops and services or to get around. “Sidewalks even on the large bridges are too narrow for pedestrians to comfortably keep their distance. The sea walls and the Arbutus Greenway are also too narrow and have no barriers between cyclists and pedestrians. “
We do have great city hall employees who can flexibly connect a city after the pandemic to physically distance themselves must come from the council. The current Council is almost in the middle of its four-year mandate. Every city council has deeply rooted social values. However, being on the council means joining together to represent what is needed for the city as a whole, and not individual personal values. That means working together to approve much needed policies and show unified respect, care and attention to achieve the concerted direction that businesses and citizens so desperately need. It is leadership.
While the council agreed last week to expand seating in Covid-related outdoor restaurants, there is no urgent change in this information for the opening of companies that need this support now. Regarding the expansion of the streets for walking and cycling, Daphne Bramham notes that it was not even voted on:because three council members did not agree to continue the meeting after 10 p.m. and the extension of session times requires a unanimous vote. ”
These are not normal times. Leadership is required to quickly create a post-pandemic plan that can help businesses thrive and feel safe and comfortable again.
Kirk Lapointe in business in Vancouver identifies post-pandemic plans as starting right on the sidewalk. “Bringing cities such as Vancouver, restaurants and some retailers to the streets to give them the chance to start a business amid social distance is a breeze. Should have been approved weeks, months, years ago. They serve as a staple for the identity of a neighborhood and are an endangered breed in this crisis, the loss of which the species cannot afford. “
It is key to recovery, ensuring that citizens feel comfortable when patronizing local businesses, and giving businesses clear instructions from the city on how to use the street space in the city. Other cities are using this time after the pandemic to ensure that the private car does not clog the road network by developing a system of filtered streets for walking, cycling and transit that ensures easy and convenient access.
Vancouver certainly can.
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