After initial reluctance, Portland city officials are preparing to ban cars from some streets to create walking and biking boulevards during the summer of COVID-19.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation says it will begin installing temporary barricades to close selected residential streets to all but local traffic, allowing people to stroll and skate while maintaining 6 feet distance from each other.
The idea has already been implemented in Seattle and Oakland, Calif.
The decision comes two weeks after WW asked why city officials weren't following Oakland's example. At the time, Portland officials said car-free streets would encourage large groups of people to gather and weren't a priority for transportation justice advocates.
PBOT hasn't said which streets it will close but says it will also explore creating walking lanes along busier roads and dedicating street space for lines of customers outside businesses.
"Our streets belong to all of us," says Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, "and these improvements will allow us to safely walk, bike and roll through the city."