Montevideo, walkable city: pedestrianization of a large avenue during 2020 pandemic



On March 13, 2020, the first cases of SARS-COVID19 were detected in Uruguay. During the first weeks of the pandemic, mobility was significantly reduced with the slogan “If you can, stay home”; it was not a mandatory but voluntary confinement. After a couple of months, there was a big drop in the number of people affected by the disease. Thus, the Municipality of Montevideo, betting on a more human and walkable city, defined that the main avenue of the city had a pedestrian section on Saturday afternoons. This resulted in a greater enjoyment of the city by its inhabitants, as they had more space to walk while maintaining safe distances between people. It was also possible to promote trading, since classically Ave. 18 de Julio is also a commercial stroll. Additionally, the sound pressure levels recorded by the Municipality’s stationary sound level meters located at three points along the avenue, showed the reduction of environmental sound levels in pedestrian areas, improving the acoustic quality of the walk. In this paper, sound pressure levels on Saturday afternoons at different times of the year before, during and after the initial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are compared and discussed.