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Pandemic Era Pedestrian Zones are Here to Stay- National League of Cities

By: Julia Bauer, Kyle Funk, Patrick Rochford

The pandemic caused a reexamining of downtown corridors where many municipalities, with local businesses, opened outdoor spaces allowing more pedestrian interactions with their local communities. Many municipalities want to continue positive trends that increased during the pandemic by focusing on improving walkability and safety for pedestrians. Some are using their American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA’s) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to make public spaces permanently pedestrian-friendly, like Detroit, MI’s $20 million investment in its 27.5-mile car-free Joe Louis Greenway. Others are using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) program funds such as Safe Streets and Routes for All to increase pedestrian safety and walkability. More examples of pedestrian zones globally are available in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center’s January 2023 “Shifting Streets” dataset.


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