A recent article published in the Journal of the American Planning Association (2022), written by Bob Noland, Evan Iacobucci, and Wenwen Zhang explored NJ residents’ support of the reallocation of street space during and after the pandemic.
Results suggested that there was substantial public support for these types of interventions that allowed for more walking and more lively town centers (about 40%–45% of respondents expressed support, and only 35% had negative views; a large share was neutral). Those with negative views believed that street closures increased congestion and that outdoor dining made it more difficult to walk.
In New Jersey, many towns are considering making COVID-inspired street changes permanent. There is broad support for this, though transportation agencies remain an impediment. The authors suggest that the current groundswell of support for street changes represents a rare opportunity to implement street design changes that support pedestrians and outdoor activities.