History will show that 2020 will be remembered forever as an International Pandemic year with Covid-19 affecting every country in the world. The United States was forced to completely change the lives of everyone in the country. How we have handled the dramatic changes is truly a tribute to how adaptable we are as human beings.
Kids, teenagers, college students, young professionals, adults and the retired community has adapted, adjusted, embraced and invented how to deal with being together socially, while distancing and covering faces to reduce chances of infecting each other. Traveling to other cities, states and countries was reduced to adjusting to a more home based lifestyle.
One of the most interesting methods we have used to get out of the house and away from streaming entertainment is to get out in the cities where we live. City populations have gone out into the streets and parks on their feet, on skateboards, scooters, on bicycles, and eBikes.
Shared Streets has become a formal method where city officials have reduced car traffic or eliminated it to encourage Pedestrian and Bicycle access for socializing at a distance. Residents have setup tables and chairs to enjoy their street scene, restaurants are moving their dining areas to the streets to save their businesses while providing a place for their customers to go, and activities have been encouraged in the streets where cars would normally prevent anything safe at the same time they are polluting the environment.
The City of Charlotte NC is launching Charlotte Shared Streets to support this movement of social distancing and pedestrian/bicycle/eBike safety with this new way of life. In the city’s own words:
Shared Streets is intended:
- Support outdoor exercise;
- Create a safer environment for people walking, wheelchair rolling, biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading;
- Promote physical distancing of at least 6 feet by identifying low-speed neighborhood streets as “Shared Streets.”
Shared Streets are streets that are temporarily designated and signed as streets for walking, wheelchair rolling, biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading. Through traffic will not be permitted, but emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, and residents who live on those streets will still be able to access the roads by motor vehicle.
Charlotte sees this as an opportunity to provide a physical was for people to get outside and let the streets provide a way to connect different areas of the City without car traffic. The Phases began back on May 9, continued on June 27 and now Phase 3 starts on August 15.
These are the Phases of Charlotte Shared Streets:
Phase 3 Starts August 15, 2020:
- Coker Ave (from Tuckaseegee Rd to the end of Coker Ave)
- Druid Hills (Holland Ave, from Montreat St to Isenhour St; Isenhour St, from Holland Ave to Rodey Ave)
- Ruth Dr (Shannonhouse Dr, from The Plaza to Ruth Dr; Ruth Dr, from Shannonhouse Dr to the end of Cottage Cove Ln)
Phase 2 Started June 27, 2020:
- Marney Ave (to Stancill Pl, St James Place, to Leroy St, ending at the Grier Heights Community Center)
- State St (Turner Ave to the street’s end)
- Andrill Tr (Washington Ave to N Summit Ave and ending at Martin St)
Phase 1 Started May 9, 2020:
- McClintock Rd from The Plaza to Morningside Dr
- Romany Rd (Bike Route 11) from Myrtle Ave to Kenilworth Ave
- Jameston Dr/Irby Dr/Westfield Rd from Freedom Park to Brandywine Rd
So, if you are in Charlotte, get up, get out and enjoy a new way of life on the streets. If you are not in Charlotte, see what your city is doing to promote Shared Streets for Pedestrian, Bicycle and eBike access.
Support and embrace this new social interaction, it may be a new social norm after 2020!
For more information on Charlotte NC Shared Streets, click here.