ROCHESTER, Minn. - Several cities throughout the country have decided to enforce one-way sidewalks in order to keep pedestrians a safe distance apart and lessen the chance of spreading the coronavirus.
If you take a walk through downtown Rochester right now, you'll see plenty of "sidewalk closed" signs along the way - diverting walkers to different sidewalks through all of the construction. Could we see more of these in the future as the city continues to take your health and safety into consideration?
"We're looking at a number of things because the weather is really starting to get nice now and the numbers of people who are out walking around are going to significantly increase," Michael Wojcik, Rochester City Councilman said.
Even with fewer people in downtown Rochester, there is still a decent amount of foot traffic on the city's sidewalks. Several communities across the nation are switching to one-way sidewalks, or at least considering it. Wojcik says the idea hasn't been discussed for the Med City, but they are looking at ways to keep you safe.
"We're looking at possible road closures in certain areas or just local traffic only so we can open up streets for walking, too."
He says he's not sure which streets those might be or how soon that could happen. Either way, he says the Med City is already in the process of making pedestrian crossing safer.
"I spoke with the city traffic engineer today about making sure all of our downtown....pedestrian crossings that you have to push to get a walk signal - we're making those all automatic so you don't have to push them," Wojcik said.
With the downtown area being heavily trafficked by healthcare workers at the Mayo Clinic, Wojcik says it's the least they can do for those who are making so many sacrifices on a daily basis.
"We have a lot of people who are making some of these sacrifices to keep our neighbors safe, so it's a very high priority."
While city leaders acknowledge exercise is important, they ask that you do your part in keeping the community safe and healthy.
"Keep in mind that six feet distance, if you're passing somebody - give them a wide birth. This a very contagious disease, it's not like the flu, and we need to be safe."
While one-way sidewalks haven't been discussed for Rochester, Wojcik says it could be beneficial in areas such as Cascade Lake and Silver Lake.