As roads across the province remain empty, some Ontario cities have decided to make some more sidewalk space. In an effort to practice social distancing in Ontario, some lanes are being closed down to traffic. This will give pedestrians and bikers more space to move. 

With sidewalks often being too narrow for the two-meter distance recommendations from health officials, some cities are getting creative with how to help pedestrians keep their distance. 

The City of Brampton is Ontario's latest city to put empty road space to use. Last week, the city used pylons to close off parts of Vodden Street to vehicles, so that only bikes or pedestrians can use them.  

“The fact is that we have roads that have never been emptier. There is no better time to open up the space for people,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said in a press conference, the Star reports

However, it's not just Brampton that has implemented this new measure.

The City of London has closed Blackfriars Bridge and the eastbound curb lane of Kensington Bridge on Riverside Drive to vehicles until further notice, according to CTV.

They have also closed sections of Highbury Avenue, which will now be separated into one-way lanes for pedestrian traffic. One side for southbound users and one side for northbound users.

Guelph is also grappling with the idea but has not made the move yet.

 

However, while some cities are working towards closing down roads, other cities are resisting. 

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson tweeted that the city should not be making it easier to go outside.

"The health unit is saying to stay at home - we should not make it easier or more convenient for people to come outside," the tweet says.

 

Toronto's Medical Officer of Health has said the same thing. 

“We do not want to inadvertently encourage people to leave their homes through opening streets, which could result in higher pedestrian demand and social gathering,” she told the Toronto Star.

However, staying 2 metres apart can be difficult on sidewalks. 

One Toronto resident pointed out the issue in mid-April when they created a home-made social distancing contraption to show just how far apart residents should really be staying. 

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