Where Pandemic Bike Improvements Won Out

While some cities are reverting back to pre-pandemic street configurations, others are taking advantage of the momentum for bike and pedestrian infrastructure to make pandemic-era projects permanent.

2 minute read

January 29, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


People on bikes on crowded Rue de Rivoli in Paris in 2020

People on bikes crowd the Rue de Rivoli in October 2020. | Oliverouge 3 / Rue de Rivoli, Paris

Writing in Momentum Magazine, Ron Johnson highlights three cities where pandemic-era bike infrastructure projects have become permanent. 

In Toronto, Yonge Street, a busy north-south corridor, received separated bike lanes. “After 18 months of installation, the data demonstrates increases (ranging between 57 percent and 250 percent) in cycling trips and increases in pedestrian trips (ranging between 59 percent and 145 percent) on the corridor, as well as support for local business including an increase from 10 CaféTO patios in 2020 to 21 patios on the corridor in 2022.” City staff is recommending making the lanes permanent and did so for two other pandemic bike projects in the city. 

In San Francisco, thanks to consistent lobbying from bike activists, Golden Gate Park’s John F. Kennedy Drive has had intermittent closures for decades. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition executive director Janelle Wong says “the emergency order shutting it down, I think for the first time allowed people to see what seven days a week, 24 hours a day of closing that street looks like and what it feels like,” making it easier to gain support for permanently implementing the change.

Across the Atlantic, Paris has been pouring massive effort into building bike infrastructure and creating more multimodal and car-free streets. The transformation of the city’s famous Rue de Rivoli into a bike and pedestrian road during the pandemic signaled a turning point for the French capital. “In 2021, one lane of traffic for transit, emergency vehicles and the like was added back and the new configuration is now permanent.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 in Momentum Magazine

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.