DC Council members urge Bowser to close or narrow roads to promote social distancing

White car standing on the road with copy space(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Rostislav_Sedlacek)

Drivers could see a major change to D.C. roads in the coming weeks.

D.C. Council members Mary Cheh, Charles Allen and Brianne Nadeau have urged D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to call for the immediate closure or narrowing of several public roads to provide pedestrians and cyclists with additional sidewalk and bike lane space during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the mayor, they recommend that the District Department of Transportation identify individual roads, residential blocks or entire corridors for lane narrowing, lane closure or complete street closure to cars.

The council will review an amendment to the Coronavirus Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act on Tuesday.

In addition to DDOT identifying roads where people are not social distancing, the amendment would require the department to create a Public Health Emergency Street Modification permit application and make it available at no cost through the department’s website.

Residents who wish to submit a permit application would need to live on the block in question.

The permits could request for a street to be closed to through-traffic, that travel lanes be reduced or that a street be converted from two-way to one-way.

Under the proposed amendment, DDOT would provide applicants with written notice of approval or disapproval within 10 days.

Closure of a single block would require approval of 51% of the residents, owners, or business on the block.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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