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Cities grapple over whether to give more room to pedestrians to spread out

Last Updated Apr 6, 2020 at 8:54 pm CDT

Pedestrians walk down St. Catherine street Monday April 6, 2020 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

OTTAWA — Battles are brewing in some cities over use of increasingly limited public space, as local governments struggle with whether to give more room for pedestrians to spread out.

Canada’s national public-health authority considers taking a walk outside a low risk activity for healthy people, as long as they keep a two-metre distance from one another.

But that’s not always possible, especially on urban sidewalks that aren’t wide enough to let two people pass each other at a safe distance.

It’s particularly challenging considering most cities have closed parks and encouraged people to stay in their own neighbourhoods.

Some cities, like Calgary and London, Ont., have closed some road lanes to give pedestrians more room to manoeuvre on slimmer sidewalks.

Whereas Ottawa’s mayor says giving pedestrians more room will draw more people out and has instead urged residents to stay inside.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press