The world is in the deadly grip of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CoViD-19) pandemic. Governments are enforcing measures to stop the spread of the disease, including community lockdowns and total stoppages of non-essential industries and businesses. Amidst this drastically changing socioeconomic landscape brought on by among the smallest things on earth, we are still finding proof that humanity is headed to a better future.
Lessons from lockdown: From a cyclist’s POV
For today’s edition of “Better Ways”, let’s look at the Facebook Page of Explore Your City on a Bicycle-Philippines. The page’s author and manager is an urban cycling advocate who goes by the handle Kalyetista Mia, who has her own personal Facebook page.
On Day 11 of the Philippine government’s enhanced community quarantine enforced over the entire main island of Luzon, she posted the following on Explore Your City. We’ll show you the main points here. For the full text of the post, visit its Facebook Page.
“How is your #Day11 like?
Thinking of the happy flipside of the Covid-19 lockdown. We can all learn from and start tweaking some lifestyle changes and government policies.
Some ideas to consider after this crisis is over.
1. Nationwide-designated work from home day. One day in a work week. Same day for all. Everyone stays at home (outside of Saturday and Sunday), except essential services. Cleans the air, allows for that one day in a week where we give the Earth some kind of respite. Creates needed family time to strengthen bonds and sense of community.
2. Establish bicycle lanes and walkways. (We have seen the) proof of concept (that we can be bicycle-oriented). Let us stop eating into and robbing our citizens of wider and safe pedestrian walkways. It should be the other way around. Claim from roadways to make it pedestrian and bicycle pathways.
3. Mandatory edible gardèns for all sidewalks and barangay open-spaces. (No one should become hungry just because of the lack of food packs in times of crisis).
4. All types of churches automatically become temporary shelters or water stations for the homeless.
5. Stop cutting old trees in the city in favor of roads. (Now that more people are walking to work, they are exposed to the heat because there are no trees to provide shade).
6. Institutionalize free bicycle parking in government offices, parks, hospitals, public spaces.
7. Designate one day a week that all who can bike to work should do so. (We were able to do it during the community quarantine; we can do this on a regular basis).
8. Additional variables to rate barangays based on: Edible gardens established; establishment and use of bike patrol in operations; number of households and number of wellness packs or disaster-preparedness kits distributed; number of households trained for disaster-preparedness of first aid. If a barangay trains more people, more volunteers are empowered and less need to be rescued.
9. Establish public mobility options for vulnerable road users (VRUs) like elderly and persons with disabilities. (VRUs encounter the same mobility problems even if there’s no crisis).
10. Maintain hygiene protocols at home and in public spaces. Uphold this standard and mentality even beyond Covid19.
11. Increase salaries of our garbage collectors. Provide them with necessary equipment and protective gear. (When our sanitation and garbage collection people) go down sick, we are doomed.
12. Promote one bicycle per household as a tool for creating a sense of community, self-reliance and disaster-preparedness.”