Saskatoon

Saskatoon Cycles makes 'urgent appeal' to open up roads to cyclists, pedestrians

Saskatoon Cycles has published an open letter asking the City of Saskatoon to open up more road space to cyclists and pedestrians so people can get out and exercise while practicing safe social distancing.

Organization publishes open letter to city asking for vehicle restrictions on some roads during pandemic

Saskatoon Cycles chairperson Cathy Watts is worried the Meewasin Trail will get too crowded when the weather warms up and people seek to get outside for exercise. (CBC)

Warmer weather is on the way and that has some people worried about what that means for physical distancing.

Saskatoon Cycles has published an open letter asking the City of Saskatoon to open up more road space to cyclists and pedestrians. Nearly 100 people have signed it so far, including about a dozen doctors and health care workers.

Chairperson Cathy Watts says restricting vehicle traffic on some roads will help people get exercise outside, while still practicing physical distancing — or staying two metres away from anyone not in your household, to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

"It's going to be a really big problem in another week or so when the temperatures start to go up and people start to pour out and go on the sidewalks, the Meewasin Trail," Watts said. 

"It's just too crowded; this trail is not wide enough."

She points to other cities that have opened up streets, such as Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary. 

The letter calls their request an "urgent appeal for public health," and stresses the importance of getting outside for mental and physical health.

Watts suggested roads could be opened up in each neighbourhood so it doesn't become a destination that attracts crowds.

She said this would be a temporary measure until the physical distancing restrictions are loosened.

"I think there has to be a much more concerted effort here and really really step out and make a very bold statement here and open roads so that people can get out and space themselves out," Watts said.

"This is the time when people should be more important than cars." 

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer, reporter, and copy editor with CBC Saskatoon and CBC Saskatchewan, and an associate producer with Saskatoon Morning. She has been working as a journalist since 2007 and joined CBC in 2017. Email: ashleigh.mattern@cbc.ca.

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