Progressives have repeatedly stated that they intend to use the coronavirus pandemic to permanently change the way America operates, and the latest installation in that series comes from the city of Seattle, where Mayor Jenny A. Durkan has announced that the city will make permanent a number of street closures that were instituted as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns.
The streets — some 20 miles worth — were initially closed in April as a means of providing the Seattle public with places for themselves and their children to get outdoors and exercise while maintaining social distancing.
Of course, the city already had more than 25 square kilometers of outdoor exercise areas available to the public in the form of parks, but it closed most of the areas in these parks except for places like walking and jogging trails. All of the parking areas, picnic areas, and play structures have been closed since lockdowns started.
It was not immediately clear why the city of Seattle felt it was safer for residents to undertake these activities on previously active concrete streets rather than pre-existing parks, but the city proudly announced that it was undertaking the project anyway and named it the Stay Healthy Streets initiative.
The designated streets were then closed, except to delivery drivers, first responders, sanitation crews, and people who actually reside on those streets.
Of course, getting more cars off all roads has long been a goal of progressives, and the release from the Seattle Department of Transportation announcing the change trumpets the city's success in meeting that goal: "We've witnessed a 57% drop in vehicle traffic volumes accessing downtown Seattle during Governor Inslee's Stay Healthy, Stay Home order... Finding new and creative ways, like Stay Healthy Streets, to maintain some of these traffic reductions as we return to our new normal is good for the planet, but is also good for our long-term fight against COVID-19."
As the city reopens, it will prioritize adding more bike infrastructure to get even more cars off the road, which the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board says will help Seattle become "a safer, healthier, and more climate friendly city."