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NYC officials pour cold water on a proposal to close some streets to cars

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

New York City officials on Friday cautioned against a proposal to close some streets to car traffic to allow New Yorkers more space to stay apart and exercise outdoors during the coronavirus crisis - steps taken by other U.S. and European cities.

The officials said street closures and pedestrian-priority streets could not safely and quickly be implemented in a city as dense as New York. The debate comes as cities around the world experiment with ways to gradually ease restrictions without compromising safety. Cities also want to ensure that years of anti-smog policies are not reversed as people returning outside the resort to private cars in favor of public transit or cycling. In New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, officials are concerned that warmer weather and a drop in infections could tempt some of the 8 million residents, many living in small apartments, to flout social distancing rules.

On Wednesday, city council members introduced a bill to dedicate 75 miles (120 km) of city streets to pedestrians and cyclists by closing at least one lane to vehicles while coronavirus restrictions are in place. Lawmakers also called on the city to expand sidewalks and bike lanes. The city in early April cut funding to bicycle lanes as part of budget reductions. 24 April 2020

News Source Reuters

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