Monday, August 31, 2020 - 3:45 PM

Council Statement: Water Street Pedestrian Mall to End September 7

Image of the Water Street Pedestrian Mall

City Council announced today that the Water Street Pedestrian Mall Pilot Project will conclude as of September 7 as originally planned.

Council are very pleased by the public support and positive attention the Pedestrian Mall received; however, we feel it is important to keep our commitment to the original end date. Without question, pedestrian malls in the downtown show great promise, and we will take this time to evaluate this summer’s event, to gather feedback from businesses and visitors through a formal engagement process and to plan for future events.

Given the success of this summer’s event, we will be working with Downtown St. John’s and businesses in the area to plan for future pedestrian malls during the summer as well as exploring the possibility of both fall and winter pedestrian mall ideas.

The pilot project was successful in identifying some challenges with the pedestrian mall, including issues with accessibility and concerns for businesses operating outside the mall footprint. Businesses inside the mall also had concerns for their operations which need to be taken into consideration. Our decision not to include Duckworth Street was due to safety concerns related to fire protection.  We will also be evaluating how better to include those businesses beyond the current footprint.

Business owners with decks within the Pedestrian Mall who wish to keep them operational after September 7 will be able to reach out to our Inspections Services team regarding any modifications required to ensure pedestrian pathways are available, similar to the plan put in place for decks in areas currently outside the mall.

Council moved forward very quickly with the Pedestrian Mall to help businesses in our downtown recover from the pandemic. This has resulted in new and exciting opportunities for the downtown and we look forward to hearing from the public and our local businesses on ways we can improve the Pedestrian Mall into the future.

Councillor Debbie Hanlon