Washington DC

DC Lawmakers Seek to Close, Narrow Roads to Promote Social Distancing

Three D.C. Council Members suggested a way for residents to request their own road be closed, narrowed or made into a one-way street to promote social distancing

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As residents of Washington, D.C., look for ways to get fresh air and exercise during the coronavirus pandemic, some neighborhood sidewalks have gotten a bit more crowded.

It can create situations where it's difficult to keep the recommended six feet of social distance, or where people step into the road.

That's the reality that spurred three D.C. Council Members to encourage Mayor Muriel Bowser to close, narrow or make one-way some roads across the District.

Transportation

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Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Charles Allen, and Brianne Nadeau wrote a letter to Bowser urging the Department of Transportation consider making more room for pedestrians and cyclists.

The D.C. Council will also consider an amendment Tuesday that would also allow residents to request modifications on their own streets.

Anyone over the age of 21 would be able to make a request for free, but more than half the block's residents would have to agree. The local Advisory Neighborhood Council would also need to sign on.

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically cut down on car traffic on many of D.C.'s streets. Council Members are hoping that it drives a more permanent shift.

"Looking beyond the immediate term, though, we also want to highlight that we can and should fundamentally shift how people move around the District," the Council Members' letter reads.

The coronavirus pandemic has already reshaped foot and car traffic around the city.

Transportation officials have already extended sidewalks near some grocery stores to promote social distancing. The District also worked with the National Park Service to close some roads to cars to make more room for bicyclists, including Beach Drive.

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