There will be no cars allowed on 20 miles of streets in Seattle, CNN reports.
In order to give Seattle residents more room to exercise and ride their bikes, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that road closures initiated through "Stay Healthy Streets" last month will be permanently shut down to most vehicular traffic.
"Safe and Healthy Streets are an important tool for families in our neighborhoods to get outside, get some exercise, and enjoy the nice weather," Durkan said in a news release. "Over the long term, these streets will become treasured assets in our neighborhoods."
The Seattle Department of Transportation said it selected streets that were in areas with limited open space options and low car ownership, along with routes that connect people to essential services and takeout food.
Only delivery drivers, first responders, sanitation crews, and residents are allowed to access the roads via vehicles. Residents are allowed to skate, walk, jog, and bike down the closed streets.
"We've witnessed a 57% drop in vehicle traffic volumes accessing downtown Seattle during Gov. Inslee's Stay Healthy, Stay Home order," SDOT said in a news release. "Finding new and creative ways, like Stay Healthy Streets, to maintain some of these traffic reductions as we return to our new normal is good for the planet, but is also good for our long-term fight against COVID-19."
The city also announced it will speed up construction of bike infrastructure.
"It is the kind of bold actions we need to encourage healthy options for recreating and traveling in our city as we deal with our current crisis, and discourage a return to high levels of traffic and associated pollution and injuries as we move into recovery," the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board said in a statement. "All these actions together will help Seattle come back as a safer, healthier, and more climate-friendly city."
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