What do San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Dublin, Paris, and São Paulo have in common? Well…they are among the increasing number of cities implementing car- free zones! And the best part? Locals -- including local businesses -- are delighted! "With the closing for cars, people started to walk a lot more, to stroll around, and the sales on Sundays grew sevenfold," one local bookstore manager told Next City. "It was the best thing that could have happened for us. Sundays are now, by far, our busiest days." A new report out of New York City has found that far from hurting restaurants, car-free streets actually increased business for restaurants enrolled in the Open Streets program. In Paris, reports suggest that nitrogen dioxide levels fell by as much as 40% along the Seine during a car-free day in September 2015. Whilst the trend had already started before the Covid-19 pandemic, the highly infectious airborne virus has pushed more cities to get serious about outdoor dining and pedestrianized streets. With such great results and feedback, it looks like car-free zones are here to stay!

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