City Councilors Michelle Wu (at large) and Liz Breadon (Allston/Brighton) want the Boston Transportation Department to begin looking at carving out some asphalt for pedestrians, bicyclists and people in wheelchairs so that they can better socially distance themselves as they go out for some air or a trip to the local market.
At next Wednesday's virtual council meeting, the two councilors will formally ask for a hearing to get the wheels turning on the idea of extending sidewalks into the street, at least for the current pandemic. Cities around the world have done so and even neighboring Brookline has re-marked space on some of its thoroughfares to allow for greater non-car social distancing.
Along with that, the councilors say Boston needs to reprogram all of its intersections with "beg" buttons to automatically give pedestrians a walk signal and to look at ways the city could nudge the T to increase service as the economy recovers so that people can safely take public transit.
In their formal request for a hearing, they write:
Improvements for safe, sustainable mobility will be especially important as Boston enters a recovery period with transition to more economic activity and travel while still requiring physical distancing.