Winnipeggers trying to balance staying home and staying safe with spending time outdoors now have a daily opportunity to do so along designated ”open streets” normally reserved for summer Sundays.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, vehicle restrictions on the City’s four annual Sunday walk-bike routes were implemented early and with extended operating hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily – a move the City hopes will help people stay safe and separated while also getting in some much needed physical activity.
“We know the world is experiencing a bit of collective cabin fever right now,” says Chris Baker, Winnipeg’s Senior Active Transportation Planner.
“By limiting vehicular traffic from these roads, we free up a bit of space for people to get outdoors and be active while also being able to maintain the distance required to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The routes are:
- Lyndale Drive - Cromwell Street to Gauvin Street
- Scotia Street - Anderson Avenue (at St. Cross Street) to Armstrong Avenue
- Wellington Crescent - Academy Road (at Wellington Crescent) to Guelph Street
- Wolseley Avenue - Raglan Road to Maryland Street
The following routes will be added on May 5, 2020:
- Assiniboine Avenue - Bedson Street to Westwood Drive
- Churchill Drive - Hay Street to Jubilee Avenue
- Egerton Road - Bank Avenue to Morier Avenue
- Kildonan Drive - Helmsdale Avenue to Rossmere Crescent & Larchdale Crescent to Irving Place
- Kilkenny Drive - Burgess Avenue to Patricia Avenue and Kings Drive
While the roads aren’t completely closed to cars, the special designation makes them “local access only” and restricts vehicles to one block of travel.
Social distancing measures remain in effect, and require a bit more consideration due to the multiple modes and speeds of travel. Pleasure walkers are reminded to keep a minimum 2 m (6.5-foot) distance; those travelling at increased speeds are encouraged to travel at increased distances, too.
“Even though vehicle traffic is restricted, everyone is still sharing the road.”
“Drivers should expect to encounter both people – including kids – and delays on the road. People on the street should expect to encounter the occasional driver making their way to and from their homes. Everyone needs to be careful and mindful of others, in more ways than one,” Baker said.
The designation is currently set to expire May 29, 2020, but Baker says the City will re-evaluate the need and extend the closures as needed.
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