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The pandemic pushed cities to take back their streets from cars. Will they keep them in 2021?

Until recently, the Rue de Rivoli, a major street that cuts across the center of Paris, was filled with cars. But when the pandemic forced the city to shut down in the spring, the majority of the road was turned over to people on bikes. On some days, as many as 20,000 cyclists use the street. But as the end of the pandemic draws closer, the change is going to become permanent.

Rue de Rivoli is just one of several places where the city has redesigned streets in 2020. “Since the end of the first lockdown in May, lots of new bicycle infrastructure has been created in record-breaking time,” says Maximilian Gawlik, an urban planner at L’Institut Paris Region, the regional urban planning agency. More than 30 miles of new bike lanes have been added within the city, and more than 60 miles in the inner suburbs.

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