April 14, 2020

Daniel Rotsztain & Social Distance Machine Garners STAR Award


You have to hand it to Daniel Rotsztain who is an urban geographer, blogger and designer in Toronto. Daniel was getting frustrated with the sidewalk size in the City of Toronto which just does not give the adequate physical distancing of two meters or six feet around to create the ever necessary “Covid Circle of Care” needed when walking or rolling on city streets.

Daniel gets the Price Tags “STAR” award. He “Saw Trouble And Responded”. He wanted to prove the point that the public realm was just not big enough for safe ambling on the sidewalk, and built what he called his “Social Distance Machine” out of a set of hose-like hoops held onto his body with a harness. The machine projects exactly two meters from his body in each direction.

Armed with the Social Distance Machine, Daniel videoed his walk on Yonge Street as well as the Kensington Market area. It’s no surprise that he ended up on the vehicular travelled portion of the street because the sidewalks were too narrow. But he proves his point: streets need to be opened to walkers and cyclists for the period of time that physical distancing is required. He is asking people to contact the Toronto Mayor and Council  and tell them that streets are for people too.

Daniel’s invention has been wildly well received. As one commenter stated: “If every person had a 1 meter version of this, no one would have to wear the 2 meter version, which looks quite unwieldy. But that is the point. ” 

The YouTube video is below.

There’s been over 40,000 views of the video so far.

Image: DailyHiveTo

with thanks to John Atkin


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  1. It would be nice if yonge street -or granville street – was closed to traffic, but daniel proves that it will not work for long. A bunch of people wearing those gadgets would fill up the space very quickly.

    Better that we all just learn to behave better.

    Another thought – why dont we just all wear two ton stèl and glass social distancing machines. Most seat 4 or more.