New Zealand Government Providing 90% Funding for Temporary Safe Cycling and Walking Space. NOW!
In response to the pandemic, the New Zealand Government has announced immediately available funding to help communities quickly create more safe space for people walking and cycling by temporarily reallocating road space.
The Canadian Government should do the same.
The Canadian Government has committed tens of billions of dollars to infrastructure. They are looking for shovel ready projects that can be rapidly built to help created jobs. Temporary lanes for cycling and walking would be ideal. Then, over the next couple of years, more money could be invested to make the lanes permanent. This is even more essential now as most communities are facing financial challenges.
Minister McKenna has already talked with New Zealand Minister Genter regarding funding for temporary space.
Genter said physical distancing would still likely be required for some time, probably until a vaccine or better treatment for covid-19 was available, so temporary solutions that could be put in place quickly were needed.
"When people begin to return to city centres following the lock down we want them to have enough space to maintain physical distance. Some of our footpaths in busy areas are quite narrow. Temporary footpath extensions mean people can give each other a bit more space without stepping out onto the road."
Commuters may prefer to walk or cycle rather than take crowded public transport in the short term after Alert Level 4.
Funding will come from the Innovating Streets for People pilot fund , part of a wider programme that supports projects using 'tactical urbanism' techniques such as pilots and pop-up, interim treatments that make it safer and easier for people walking and cycling in the city.
While that fund allocated $7 million for such projects prior to coronavirus, the cap had been lifted on what could be spent now, Genter said.
There was a $100 million plus underspend on New Zealand Transport Agency spending on strategic cycleways that could be diverted to the project.
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