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Oakland to close off city streets for community recreation amid pandemic

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — In the East Bay, the city of Oakland wants to let neighbors use 74 miles of surface streets for recreation.

In Oakland on Friday, Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the city wants to use 74 miles of surface streets within the city for people to recreate, to get outside, go for a walk, ride their bikes and just basically get out of the house during this coronavirus shelter in place.

Now, the city is essentially taking an old bike path plan, something they’ve been working on for a while, and translating it into what they call a slow streets program.

If you live on the street or you have business there, you can still drive your car in but they want to stop the through traffic and make it a little safer for people to go out.

The mayor at a press conference on Friday said she feels this is a really good way to use public space to give people an opportunity to exercise.

“We want Oaklanders to recreate it in a socially distanced manner, a physically distanced manner,” Schaaf said. “And by opening up our street to bikers, joggers, pedestrians we are giving Oaklanders more room to spread out safely.”

The city acknowledges that this is a big project and they currently don’t have the staff or the equipment to pull it off overnight, so they’re going to phase it in. 

They are going to start on Saturday by going out and putting cones and signs on four streets and then slowly over the days and weeks ahead they want to work on getting that signage of those cones up at the other 74 miles of streets across city. 

The city is also working on a website, which hopefully they’ll have up in a few days to give people more information.

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