Countries began to gradually withdraw from quarantine, worried, as the coronavirus affects the lives of large cities. How is it possible to allow people to move freely, to go to work and go shopping, if there is still danger of a second wave of infection?
the world health organization (who) advises less use of public transport. Instead people offer to walk or ride a bike.
But for many to change their habits will not be easy — especially if their home is far from work and the street environment is not suitable for cyclists. Experts predict that people who are afraid to get on the subway and buses, becoming more likely to travel by private cars. For many cities it can become a serious problem.
Authorities of Paris, new York and Milan already figured out how to solve it. Not all ideas were successful.
In 1513 in Milan finished building a huge hospital — a large-scale facility with an area of about 150 thousand square meters, surrounded by a moat. Across the ditch, according to the researchers, doctors to not get infected, examined patients during the epidemic of plague. Today, the building remained only a dozen arches, columns and six Windows: the Infirmary was demolished in 1886 and the surviving part of the building you can see on the street San Gregorio.
the Current epidemic of coronavirus is also marked on the map.
Authorities believe that in the era postcoronary much more important to give residents more space to move, and that means more opportunities to maintain social distance.
the Project will start at the point where the surviving wall of the old Infirmary — main street must soon become pedestrian-only.
Milan, named in 2008 the most polluted city in Europe, continue pursuing this issue.
In February this year, the authorities had temporarily prohibit the residents to use cars to cope with the looming above the city smog. The measure, introduced for the first time, not very helpful: prevent the mountain ranges surrounding the city and slow the dispersion of smog.
Some scientists believe that the level of environmental pollution may affect the mortality rate from coronavirus.
78% of deaths from Covid-19 in Europe is concentrated in five most contaminated areas of the mainland part of the region, estimated by a team of researchers from the German of Martin Luther University. Although scientists emphasize that while we can speak only of correlations, not causal relations, and this theory needs more evidence, Milan is considered by experts as an argument in its favor.
in the Lombardy region, whose capital is Milan, b��La the first recorded outbreak of coronavirus in Italy. The region most affected by Covid-19, and the mortality rate exceeded 18%, which is significantly higher than in all other regions of the country (10.6 percent). Although such indicators may be different explanations that are not related to air pollution, the authorities of Milan, it seems, do not intend to miss the opportunity to change the city.
During the pandemic the number of cars in the city and traffic fell, according to various sources, 30-75%, according to the American Bloomberg Associates, a consulting mayors on issues related to the urban environment. And that means decreased air pollution.
Only 10% of the area of Milan is made up of green areas and the total length of roads is 1937 miles. Before the pandemic, the municipality came up with a plan to plant three million trees to green the city and solve the problem with clean air.
it was Planned that the project will be completed by 2030. The current administration’s plan is more associated with urban traffic: for machines impose additional restrictions — in addition to the closure of some streets, officials administered the maximum speed of 30 km/h on many roads in the city center.
Deputy mayor of Milan, Marco Granelli admitted that the government, of course, want as soon as possible to ease quarantine restrictions to normalize the economic situation. “But we have to do it new to rethink life in Milan in the current situation”, he added.
is it Possible?
In Milan — the city with an area of just 181 square kilometer — lives of 1.4 million people. Up to 55% of citizens use public transport to get to work. The average trip distance — less than 4 miles away.
“the Current crisis has forced street finally, silence and at the same time stressed the errors in the distribution of urban space,” said bi-Bi-si Janet Sadiq Khan former Commissioner for transport in the new York, now working at Bloomberg Associates ex-mayor city Michael Bloomberg.
Sadiq Khan consults mayors on how to improve urban space. “Millions of people sitting at home, and the streets for their Windows almost empty or crowded with parked cars. Most of the sidewalks are too narrow — it is impossible to keep a safe distance when walking. A historic moment has arrived when we can change it. These now unused streets provide endless opportunity: if we prepracticum them, people will be able to get out of the house on important matters,” she says.
the Epidemic of coronavirus in the most densely populated city in the United States primarily to significantly impact on traffic congestion: with the introduction of the quarantine car traffic has reducedthe axis of 60-70% and transit — by 80-95%. By both measures, new York became a leader among American cities.
But while experts still do not see any serious reasons for joy. A former city Commissioner for transportation Sam Schwartz recalls: after the attacks of 11 September 2001, people were afraid of once again being in Manhattan, so the flow of cars on the island recovered gradually, reaching 90% from the previous figure for the whole year. Now the same movement as in new York, already beginning to perk up. in early may, the drop in traffic from 70% fell to 50%.
“the fall of the density of traffic may even exceed previous levels if the city authorities do not impose restrictions and does not establish a fee for entry. But the flow of metro passengers is unlikely to recover in the coming year,” said Mr. Schwartz, has always advocated the introduction of fees for entry to certain areas of the city.
City Council new York was also concerned about this issue and repeatedly drawn this to the attention of mayor bill de Blasio.
Deputies publicly criticized the mayor for failing to open more space for pedestrians. De Blasio was confident that such measures will create an additional burden on police new York, and pulled to last. Now the police patrol the streets to see how people follow the rules of quarantine. Accordingly, according to the mayor, the more open space, the more cops you need.
In the future, he promised, free of cars zone can be increased to 100 miles (160 km).
“Open the street” look like a temporary measure: people can freely walk on it only from 8 am to 8 PM, after which traffic is restored — until the next morning. In addition, it is unclear whether power to achieve the ultimate goal of 100 miles, de Blasio said that it depends on how long the crisis will last.
But not all residents new York were satisfied with the plan de Blasio. During his online conference the mayor, announcing the changes did not show any charts. The streets involved in the program, was published as a single list. Activists soon caused them to Google map.
Red on the map marked open street — 40 of 6074 miles of roads in new York. Most adjacent to city parks or passes through them. But there are open spaces, which angered citizens and critics of de Blasio.
so, for example, looks like one of the streets that the municipality was allowed to use as a pedestrian:
This is Court square long island: on one side of the street Parking is available and Luggage storage, the other garages.
“of Course, this is only the beginning. In the future we will need from��to dig a lot more streets and expand a lot more sidewalks to residents new York was able to walk,” says Sam Schwartz.
Open streets is important to unload the parks, agrees Sarah Kaufman, an expert on urban planning from new York University: “Open street new York now you can relax. But real take into account the need to keep a distance, especially when people begin to go to work, we need to free up even more space for pedestrians and cyclists”.
last Thursday, de Blasio donated 12 miles of roads in favour of cyclists.
“the people new York like to walk. Our walk in zocoronline times included Hiking to the subway and back to the wine routes and other stores, and walks at lunch and dinner. We walk much more than other Americans, and our style of walking was even immortalized by Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight cowboy” jokes Schwartz.
Paris is another big city, which urgently draw new cycle paths. By mid-may the city authorities promise to open for citizens of 650 kilometers of new routes.
a Study conducted in 2016, showed that each year in France, 48 thousand people — and that 8% of all deaths — to die due diseases related to air pollution.
Citing the need to solve the problem of air pollution, Hidalgo was engaged in the redesign of the squares of the city, was to impose restrictions on older diesel vehicles and increasing the number of paths.
Hidalgo came up with the idea to adapt all the streets for cyclists — the ambitious project had to be completed by 2024. The issue price, in addition to hundreds of million euros, a 72% loss of Parking spaces on the streets of Paris. But now officials fear that the new tubes, expected to will inevitably arise after the removal of coronavirus, Talon, will complicate the process.
In all the major cities, most likely, officials will be faced with the fear of residents to use public transport, where the higher the risk of transmission of infections. Hidalgo decided that urgent measures need to be taken now.
it is Expected that Paris could become an example of a city that have adapted as the mayor calls it, tactical urbanism — that is a reorganization that meets the challenges of the new postcoronary the world.
in Addition to Bicycle lanes, Hidalgo plans to allow cafes and restaurants to use more space on the sidewalks to the owners of the establishments could seat people at a safe distance, and close the streets around schools in the morning and after school at the gate was not going the crowd of parents.
Innovation must begin with the Rue de Rivoli — one of the busiest and ��Linnich in the city. The authorities of Paris plans to ban cars in Rivoli, turning it into a Bicycle highway. Except velosipedistov on the street be allowed to ride only buses and taxis.
in Addition, France will spend € 20 million that the owners received preferential opportunity to fix their own bikes. The money will also help pay for training for learning to ride a bike.
“If people will once again sit behind the wheel, will be a nightmare. Our secret dream is to temporary change has become permanent in the new reality,” said Jean-Louis of Misik, Vice mayor, responsible for planning of the urban environment.
Lithuania has eased quarantine measures at the end of April: the authorities allowed to open cafes and restaurants, however, the owners were obliged to arrange the tables so that people could observe social distance. Most of the cafes in the narrow streets of the Old city simply could not meet these requirements.
the municipality of Vilnius decided during the quarantine, to support the restaurant business, allowing the use of additional street space and completely free for the owners of these establishments. While the authorities have opened for business eighteen outdoors, including Cathedral square, but they promise that during the summer there will be more.
Many restaurant owners consider this opportunity as the only way to save the business.
the owner of the restaurant in Vilnius Cristina Fernandez said that he had asked the city administration to allocate for its institution two Parking spaces to build them a terrace or entertaining guests.
However, it is recognized that while the urgent need for additional places at the restaurant: “We set up three tables along our front, and I can definitely say that while even them we have enough.” According to her, people are still afraid of spending time in public places.
“it’s Hard to say how much this gesture from the mayor’s office will help the restaurants. Maybe with global warming this situation will begin to improve — we should not forget that we are now directly dependent on the weather,” explained Fernandez.
new York, Paris, Milan and Vilnius is not the only city that decided to respond to the challenges of the new time.
Berlin, Brussels, London, Toronto also increase the number of bike lanes, their example should be Bogota, capital of Colombia. Some cities are changing the operating mode of traffic lights so pedestrians do not need to press the button to cross the street, and had less to wait for the green light. Such measures are Sydney, London and Los Angeles.
But these measures will cost countries, and so affected the economy a lot of money.
Britain until 2025 will be spent on a similar programme to 2 billion pounds. Given the fact that the pandemic has already hit hard by the economy, and the government had to spend billions to support workers and businesses.
it’s hard to tell how much the coronavirus has already cost the countries, but those open access documents of the British Treasury saying that a pandemic could cost 337 billion pounds.