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In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — and the new reality the world finds itself in — Philadelphia needs to rethink how it uses its streetspace to keep its residents safe, and, when the time comes, responsibly re-open the economy.

Created by a coalition of advocacy organizations, Recovery Streets seeks to use tools already in the City’s arsenal, like Open Streets, Calm Streets, expanded outdoor dining and food vending, expanding the Play Streets program, and creating 50 miles of new protected bike lanes throughout the city for workers.

These changes can be implemented to better deal with the fallout from the crisis our city, and world, finds itself in. Read the full Recovery Streets platform below.

Philadelphia gained international attention when it became one of the first cities around the world to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive on March 20th. Closing the Drive, the city said, was the responsible thing to do to allow folks to get recreation during the quarantine while easier maintaining social distance.

Since that time, cities around the world have taken steps to make streets safer, using initiatives like open streets, slow streets, and expanded outdoor dining options — initiatives we have now seen in working order in other cities.

While MLK Drive was a big step forward for Philadelphia, not everyone in the city has access to MLK, and closing the road has done little to calm down drivers throughout Philadelphia, whose aggressive driving has led to an uptick in pedestrian fatalities.

The tools utilized in Recovery Streets will be a necessary part of any gradual reopening of Philadelphia’s economy. These tools can help to limit further spread of the disease, and provide equitable access to our city’s public space.

Without these measures Philadelphia will be plagued by worse air pollution than before COVID, congested streets, and heightened inequalities in how people move throughout the city.

Read the full platform here.

Sign the petition.

Interested in your organization endorsing Recovery Streets? Send a message to randy@bicyclecoalition.org with your group’s logo.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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