Communities across Los Angeles have witnessed major changes as we approach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. While many changes, both large and small, have been negative, there have been some silver linings. One potential upside has been the adoption of “slow streets” in Southern California.
Slow streets are meant for local traffic only. Signage is placed on residential streets informing users of the street’s status. Ideally, this will lead to a reduction in motor vehicle traffic on slow streets. Of course, as the name implies, vehicles should also travel at a lower rate of speed on slow streets. Slow streets are still open to traffic. Designated areas are not meant as community gathering spots or places to throw an impromptu block party.
Will these changes become permanent?
The initial reasoning behind slow streets is that they would encourage social distancing. As such, the thought is that they would be temporary. However, it’s possible that they may become permanent in some communities.
2020 saw a significant drop in collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles. It’s obvious that a lot of this is probably due to the relative lack of traffic over the past months. However, a less obvious factor may be the increase in bike safety measures that are taking place in L.A. and throughout Southern California. Slow streets can only help make roadways safer for bikers, pedestrians, and the people who live on residential roads. Hopefully, cities and communities will recognize the benefits of slow roads and will continue to implement and preserve these changes wherever reasonable.