In an effort to make it safer to walk, run and bike in Oakland during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Libby Schaaf on Friday designated 74 miles of city streets for pedestrian, bicycle and local vehicle traffic only.
The so-called “Slow Streets” initiative will start Saturday.
Schaaf wants to open the streets to people who are trying to keep their social distance as they walk to work or try to get some exercise. She also wants to get drivers to slow down.
“We are taking this opportunity to try some new things,” she said. “Oaklanders are very anxious right now and really trying hard to adjust to a radically different reality. We hope that this ‘Slow Streets’ movement will help give some joy, some recreation, some exercise in a safe and physically distanced way to Oakland families throughout the city.”
The initiative applies to about 10% of the city’s roadways. Those roads will not be closed to cars entirely. Local vehicle traffic, such as someone driving in their own neighborhood or someone making a delivery, is still OK.
If people drive on one of the designated streets without knowing it, they won’t get a ticket at this point.
Councilman Noel Gallo is urging Oakland police and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office to crack down on speeding and sideshows that continue to happen during the stay-at-home order.