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City encourages residents to spread out when out on local sidewalks & pathways

For immediate release: April 14, 2020 - 3:30pm
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The City of Saskatoon has an extensive network of sidewalks, pathways and parks to allow for physical distancing, so will not be closing any lanes or roads at this time. The Government of Canada and Saskatchewan recommend staying home as much as possible, but if you go out, spread out.  

“Closing select corridors intended to attract people to certain areas of the city, like the river valley or other popular locations, is contrary to the advice of health professionals because that could actually contribute to spreading the COVID-19 virus,” says Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Director of Emergency Management Organization. “Street closures have actually had an opposite effect as happened in New York City, where large crowds were attracted to central locations until this was stopped. 

This week the City is making adjustments to 59 of the higher usage pedestrian crossing intersections. Signage will be placed to remind people not to touch the buttons and the crossing will be automated. The audible system will work as usual for people with visual impairments. Signage is also posted on bridge walkways that are either closed or open to one-way traffic only to allow for distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) from others.  

“The City continues to monitor public streets, sidewalks, and pathways in our City and is in conversation with other Cities throughout North America as varied approaches are taken,” says Goulden-McLeod. “As most people have abided by the Public Health Order, our local streets have exceptionally low pedestrian volume, so there’s plenty of space to allow for physical distancing while walking or cycling.”  

The City is currently working on five bikeways projects throughout the City, and in 2021 will begin working with stakeholders on the Downtown Active Transportation network. Community consultation, including key stakeholders, will inform improvements to the overall network.