Pandemic Provides Opportunity for ‘Slow Streets' Pilot Program in Dallas

Ten Dallas neighborhoods are participating in a pilot program to limit traffic and open streets for people to gather at a social distance

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The historic community of Joppa, south of downtown Dallas, is helping pave the way for the city's "Slow Streets" pilot program.

"We actually did the painting," Joppa Slow Streets Block Captain Shalondria Galimore said, pointing to a stenciled sign reminding people to stay 6-feet apart. "You try to find the positive in everything."

The pandemic wasn't just a problem, it was an opportunity for the city of Dallas to test the pilot program that limits traffic and opens a block-long stretch of street in 10 neighborhoods to allow people to gather at a social distance.

"We all did that growing up and you don't see that anymore," said Jason Roberts, founding director of Better Block Foundation. "Most people, honestly, grew up where they played basketball on the street. I remember making ramps for BMX bikes."

The Better Block is a partner in the 30-day Slow Streets pilot program. Think of it as a trip back to the future.

"We've prioritized the car over people for so long that now we're getting this opportunity to actually correct that equation," Roberts said. "We're just re-prioritizing the human."

The Coalition for a New Dallas is funding the "Slow Streets" pilot program. After the trial period, they will look at ways to expand the program and possibly make it permanent.

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