During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has been challenged to think differently. The Borough of Dormont, a Live Well Allegheny Community, is doing just that with the implementation of the Healthy Streets Dormont Project.
Residents organized a petition and made a presentation to council to create safer outdoor spaces for walking, biking, or cycling with less interference from traffic and provide room for people to get outside and keep at least 6 feet from others. The Healthy Streets Dormont Project launched on June 8. It will run through June 30 and then.
During this time, Grandin Avenue and Memorial Drive will be open to only local traffic and deliveries. The Dormont Pool parking lot is also closed to traffic except one row of parking for park users. There are signs around the streets and parking lot to explain the closures.
“We saw an opportunity for the borough to be flexible and creative in light of the changing needs of our residents during the COVID-19 shutdown,” said Jen Mazzocco, Vice President of the Dormont Borough Council. “People were going out in their neighborhoods more often to get some exercise and a break from the indoors. Many of us witnessed our neighbors using the streets to give social distancing space to others they passed, so when we saw the presentation, we thought it could possibly be a way to make outdoor physical activity easier and safer during a time when that was so important to our community’s physical and mental wellbeing.”
The pilot is just in its beginning stages, but the council is already looking at the advantages of the program and gathering information on whether to expand it. The Traffic, Parking, and Planning Commission has been tasked with creating a more sustainable, comprehensive plan for the program.
“I’d love to see a network of ‘healthy’ streets that cross the borough and help create safer paths to our park, pool and business district as well as provide more open space for those who don’t live close to those places. That will require a lot more data and planning, and we are hoping the pilot gives us some good information to start that process,” Mazzocco said.
Dormont encourages and welcomes all ideas and feedback for the program. More information about the program can be found on the Borough of Dormont website: http://boro.dormont.pa.us/healthy-streets-dormont/