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Local helps start “Morgantown Healthy Streets” Initiative

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 7:23 PM EDT
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MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Most sidewalks don’t offer enough space to maintain six feet distance, which is why one local took to his neighborhood the idea to block off their low-traffic street and allow pedestrians on foot or wheels the opportunity to an open road for activities during these hard times.

"We all need to be physically active for our sanity, our physical and mental health," Christian Abildso, a faculty member at WVU's School of Public Health said.

Now Abildso serves as a block captain for the new “Morgantown Healthy Streets” initiative.

He formed a petition to create the program. It's goal is to get neighborhoods to identify low-traffic streets and place temporary traffic controls that close streets to vehicle traffic, besides those that are residents, guest of the residents, delivery and emergency vehicles.

There are barricades and signs placed on these streets for public awareness.

"Right after the orders to shut down, everyone was at home and you could see people walking a lot here," Abildso said. "If they were approaching each other on the sidewalk, one of them would invariably go into the street and go to the other side so there is a need for it," he said.

A need for getting people to stay active is what also got Morgantown staff engineer, Drew Gatlin involved.

“We’ve noticed a lot of crowding, at trails and around typical recreation areas so that will allow people to take that space to recreate,” he said.

The city is welcoming general feedback and suggestions for additional healthy streets.

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