KITCHENER -- With summer-like weather in the forecast, city officials in Waterloo are considering how to better facilitate residents that want to head outdoors during the pandemic.

In a special council meeting on Monday morning, City of Waterloo councillors unanimously voted to start exploring changes to active transportation infrastructure like roads, parks and trails to allow for physical distancing.

Council says it is looking to put a policy in place so that change can begin to happen throughout the city.

“We need to be clear that this needs to be the beginning of something bigger,” says Coun. Tenille Bonoguore.

In a motion brought forward by Coun. Jeff Henry, it was noted that staff need to look at areas to expand transportation infrastructure to provide more space and equal access to parks and trails.

“Many of our trails cross multiple roads, so we need to be looking at these roads and considering changes to them, possibly temporary ones at first to protect the trailer users,” says Bonoguore.

“I also want to see bold ideas to repurpose parking lots. It’s going to be a long time before offices are as full as they were.”

People are being asked to reach out to their ward councillor if there’s an area where it’s more crowded or a busy street where physical distancing may be prevented.

Council also plans to ask the region to look at a similar assessment, including eliminating some pedestrian activated intersection controls.

During the meeting, mayor Dave Jaworsky noted this isn’t going to be one road widened or closed off, but instead it will need to be spread out throughout the wards because they want people to stay in their neighbourhoods.