Pedestrians can’t safely physically distance on sidewalks, says advocacy group

Pedestrians can't safely physically distance on sidewalks, says advocacy group
WatchWith pathways piling up with pedestrians, how do we safely social distance on sidewalks?

The pathways on the South Island are piling up with people, desperate for a dose of fresh air and Vitamin D amid the pandemic.

But while getting outside is good, getting too close, isn’t good at all.

“These social distancing measures and avoiding nonessential gatherings or travel we can dampen any sort of transmission within our society,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer on March 16.

And at some pinch points, it’s tough to give people enough space.

Some pedestrians are being forced off the skinny sidewalks to walk on the road.

“The traffic hasn’t disappeared entirely,” said Corey Burger with the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.

“Crashes on the roads are a big reason for hospitalization and right now, we’re doing everything we can to try and limit people going to hospital, so let’s travel safely, and this is an opportunity to provide space for people to do that.”

The Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition wants municipalities across the Capital Regional District, to reduce car lanes on some roads to help cyclists, and pedestrians safely keep their social distance.

“It’s a challenge, how does someone get to their essential workplace if they can’t physically distance getting there?” asked Burger.

Calgary and Winnipeg are already testing it out.

But Victoria’s Mayor Lisa Helps says, for now, it’s about staying smart.

“It’s not something that the city is considering at this time,” said Helps.

“For now we ask people to be sensible, to make space for others. It’s not something our transportation staff has observed at this time that needs to be moved on. But if that changes, then we’ll certainly look at it.”

But now with physical distancing looking more like a marathon than a sprint, and even warmer weather on its way — a different kind of congestion on our roadways seems only likely, to get worse.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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