By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – On any given day during the coronavirus crisis, people are out getting some exercise with walks and bike rides. One Sacramento man wants to see safer streets for them in the meantime.

That’s what got Nick Pappas thinking.

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“There’s a lot on folks’ minds right now,” Pappas said. “To have this area and feel as safe as we can would be important.”

On his daily walks with his dog, Pappas wants to see more of that foot traffic and fewer vehicles. He proposed this through a newly-created petition, called the Sacramento Slow Streets Program. The idea would block off some Sacramento side streets to cars and only allow cyclists and pedestrians through during the stay-at-home order.

“It’s presented some challenges,” Pappas said. “It’s a lot more people than the sidewalk can handle with social distancing.”

The idea came from a similar initiative done in Oakland and from seeing more people out near his East Sacramento neighborhood. M Street has seen more bustle than before with families distancing whilst still getting some fresh air. It’s one of the many streets Pappas proposes Sacramento City Council should consider closing down to cars.

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So far, he’s garnered support from a couple of hundred community members like Deb Banks, president of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates.

“There’s a lot of people who feel uncomfortable riding their bikes, but they’d ride them more frequently if the streets felt safer,” Banks said.

Pappas hopes that support cycles over to the city, too.

“I’m not suggesting this to be top of their list or even top 10,” Pappas said. “But I think as we go into month 2 and 3 – maybe more – it would be a great quality of life improvement.”

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Pappas said this idea is still very early in its planning phase. CBS13 sent the proposal to the City of Sacramento to ask if this is something they would consider. The City says they’re looking into whether or not this could be feasible during the stay-at-home orde but haven’t made a decision yet.