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Rails-to-Trails calls on officials to open streets to biking and walking

Published March 31, 2020

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is calling on the nation's mayors and local elected officials to close select streets to vehicle traffic to increase access to safe outdoor space for people walk or bike while maintaining social distance during the COVID-19 crisis.

RTC has launched a petition calling on officials to take immediate action. The group also plans a webinar on Thursday to share insights and expertise about how individuals can encourage their local elected officials to take immediate action.

The webinar, which is open to the press and the public, will be moderated by Liz Thorstensen, RTC's vice president of trail development. Guests will include Sarah Clark Stuart, the executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia; Laura Leticia Bahamón Peña, the bicycle manager for the Ministry of Transportation in Bogotá, Colombia; Jodie Medeiros, the executive director, Walk San Francisco; and representatives from the city of Duluth, Minnesota.

According to the RTC, an analysis of 31 trail counters for the week of March 16–22 found a nationwide trail usage increase of nearly 200% from that same week in 2019.

"Surging demand for trails and outdoor places is making it increasingly difficult for people to keep 6 feet of space between each other, forcing some trails and parks to close, while others limit facilities and services," the group said. 

The webinar is Thursday, April 2, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Register online.

To view RTC's petition, or for more information on RTC's COVID-19 resources, visit RTC's website or attend the webinar.

Topics associated with this article: Coronavirus

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