There has been a massive reduction in car traffic over the last few months.

It makes sense, with most people not commuting to work. The amount of cars on the road has dropped off by more than 50% in most states. 

People are still moving and grooving though. According to The World Health Organization, walking and cycling are considered the safest means of transport for people today.

In response, many cities have created temporary cycling paths and car-free streets. 

Now, it looks like many of these environmentally-friendly changes will be permanent.

Here’s the scoop:

Paris, France has built almost 400 miles of cycleways in the last two months. Most of these will be permanent as a part of the city’s new mobility plan. 

In Bogotá, Columbia, Mayor Claudia López added almost 50 miles of temporary bike routes in March alone. She was also responsible for converting 13 miles of car lanes to bike routes overnight. 

In Italy, the city of Milan has added 20 miles of cycling infrastructure which will remain in place after lockdowns are lifted. 

Former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Saik-Kahn, who is working with the Italian city on the transition, told BBC, “The pandemic challenges us, but it also offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change course and repair the damage from a century of car-focused streets.”

New York City has seen around a 90% increase in cyclists and has scrambled to create dozens of miles of designated bike lanes and streets.

They have also changed several city ordinances to allow pedestrians to carry bikes into buildings, and prevent any car (private, commercial, or state-owned) from blocking bike lanes at any time. 

Lockdowns have offered us a unique opportunity to step back and consider what is really important to us.

Many people, from government officials to everyday citizens are using this opportunity to make lasting changes to the way we as humans relate to the natural environment.