Advertisement

Bike Regina proposes turning over streets in Wascana Park to pedestrians, cyclists during pandemic

Cyclists ride along the trail near Wascana Park in Regina.
Cyclists ride along the trail near Wascana Park in Regina. File / Global News

A local group of cycling activists want to see the roads that weave through Wascana Park closed to motorized traffic.

In an open letter, Bike Regina called for the streets in Wascana Park to be closed to make more space for pedestrians, runners and cyclists during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Wascana Lake loop turned into one-way path due to coronavirus pandemic

“With the weather warming up and people being cooped up at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people will want to enjoy the park,” reads the letter.

“With fitness centres, hockey rinks, yoga studio and playgrounds closed and all sorts of events cancelled there is not much else to do.

Story continues below advertisement

“As there is less traffic now in general, this seems like a good time to give it a try.”

In early-April, Wascana Centre implemented one-way traffic along the pedestrian walkway around Wascana Lake between Albert and Broad Street
In early-April, Wascana Centre implemented one-way traffic along the pedestrian walkway around Wascana Lake between Albert and Broad Street.

Other cities across Canada have closed streets to motorists while leaving them open for walking and cycling. This includes Winnipeg and Vancouver while other cities like Toronto are considering doing the same.

The Provincial Capital Commission (PCC) which oversees Wascana Park has already taken measures to limit social distancing.

In early April, the Wascana Centre implemented one-way traffic along the pedestrian walkway around Wascana Lake between Albert and Broad Street.

Playground structures, picnic sites and sporting facilities remain closed until further notice.

READ MORE: Do Saskatoon cyclists need more space amid COVID-19? Some city councillors weigh in

Story continues below advertisement

In an email to Global News, the PCC said it has weighed the possibility of road closures, but it’s not a measure that will be taken at this time.

“We need to consider the safety of our staff to interact and enforce the road closure, and the need to maintain routes to provide emergency services to park users, and critical workplaces in the park that are still in operation (SaskPower, legislature, department of national defence),” said the PCC.

Over 250 Winnipeg transit bus operators to be laid off
Over 250 Winnipeg transit bus operators to be laid off

Additionally, parking would likely become an issue should the streets close.

“The request to limit parking would result in the cars parking in front of houses in the surrounding neighbourhoods, which could lead to complaints or all parking would occur in concentration in front of the legislature,” continued the statement.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan to start reopening from the coronavirus pandemic on May 4

Story continues below advertisement

The PCC is encouraging the community to continue practising sage physical distancing measures while using the park.

Signage has been placed around the park to encourage people to keep two-metres apart.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.