BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — During his COVID-19 update on Monday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced new ideas to “expand space” in the city’s public areas to encourage social distancing as businesses begin to reopen.
This would include expanding sidewalks in business districts, opening up entire traffic lanes for pedestrians and cyclists to use, and expanding bus stops and bus priorities on the road.
Walsh said that expanding sidewalks could “help with physical distancing, especially where people wait in line for businesses that are following new capacity guidelines.”
Also on Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced the state’s four-phase plan to reopening, with the goal of beginning that process on May 18. This includes social distancing restrictions for businesses.
Walsh said that opening up streets to pedestrians and cyclist use “could also calm traffic speeds.” However, the city would “need to do this in a way that does not cut off emergency vehicles or delivery access for residents.”
Walsh mentioned Hanover Street in the North End as a possibility for the initiative.
He also said that while “subway ridership is down, we are seeing essential workers continue to rely on bus routes.” Therefore, expanding bus routes and bus priorities could be helpful as the city begins thinking about reopening.
Mayor Walsh said that if the city’s ideas “help us meet our goals, we will develop proposals for specific locations to share with the community for feedback before moving forward.”
“This is an important issue for safe recovery and we need to have an inclusive conversation to get it right,” Walsh said.
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