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The City of Ventura joins cities around the country in creating safe places to be physically active while we all respond to physical distancing mandates. Some examples of cities that have successfully implemented similar models include Alameda, Oakland, Burlington, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and more.
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With park amenities, gyms and pools closed, and trails packed with people, many Ventura residents are seeking other ways to safely exercise while maintaining the required physical distancing. It can be difficult to maintain 6 feet or more of physical distance on many sidewalks, park paths, and bikeways.
Because of this, many people are choosing to walk in the street to maintain adequate physical distancing, exposing themselves to swiftly moving vehicle traffic. The City of Ventura is the Shared Streets for Health and Safety During COVID-19 initiative, which will institute the "soft" closure of some streets to through traffic, allowing these roadways to be used as a shared space for people walking and rolling, while also allowing essential vehicle travel.
The goal is to take advantage of lower vehicle traffic resulting from the Stay Well at Home order issued by Ventura County and the State and allow more people to use our streets while maintaining physical distancing.
While the City is implementing a “soft” closure, local access is still allowed, which means people who live on the street or need to access a destination on the stretch of roadway that is closed, are allowed access. People in cars are encouraged to go very slowly and use extreme caution on these shared streets; other motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes.
Shared Streets will be in effect 24/7, given the limited staff resources to deploy/re-deploy equipment daily.
At select locations along the street, including at the beginning and end of the Slow Street segment, as well as at key intersections, the City will post closure signage on barricades stating, “Local Traffic Only” or “Shared Street” Traffic cones will also be used to mark the change.
Our pilot phase identified the following streets
All these streets already serve many people walking and biking, are low-traffic streets to minimize traffic disruption, and are already a bicycle route and/or are being considered as future bicycle boulevards as part of the Active Transportation Plan effort underway.
Shared Streets may be extended, and additional streets added with positive results and operational capacity. Candidate streets will focus on existing bicycle routes and potential bicycle boulevard streets. You can share your ideas for more streets to add in our program feedback survey HERE.
People are driving less and walking and bicycling more than ever throughout the City. The City of Ventura strongly urges all drivers to drive slowly and safely and to expect to see people walking and biking along ALL streets. Our hospitals are facing unprecedented challenges and don’t need any additional patients. Let’s keep our community safe and strong.
City staff and volunteers will track the program’s effectiveness, monitor the street to ensure physical distancing is observed, and modify efforts on an ongoing basis. City staff will work with community members and partners, including BikeVentura and Channel Islands Bike Club, to assist with outreach, to help monitor, report issues, and replace signs and barricades, as needed. Residents are encouraged to provide feedback on our survey.
The City will monitor the use of the streets, as noted above, but will not seek to ticket or financially penalize those who use the corridors as through streets. Instead, the City will aim to educate and raise awareness of the increasing prevalence of non-motorist use of the roadway and to encourage orderly, shared use of our roadways.
If you have a location-specific maintenance issue, please report it to our Transportation Hotline at 805-654-7769
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how the program is working, what additional streets should be added, etc. Take our survey on this web page. We’ll monitor the comments and use them to adjust how the program moves forward.
Use #SharedStreetsVentura to post photos of your experiences on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.