Friday, July 10, 2020 - 1:00 PM

Water Street Pedestrian Mall Update

The City of St. John’s is pleased to announce that the first week of the Water Street Pedestrian Mall has been very well attended and popular with residents. As it is a new event that came together very quickly, opportunities for further improvement are being explored to ensure the mall is inclusive and welcoming for all ages and abilities.

“We were thrilled to see how many people are coming downtown to visit the new pedestrian mall,” said Mayor Danny Breen. “It is important to recognize that this is just the beginning, and we still have some work to do, especially with regard to accessibility and consultation with the community.”

Currently there are eight accessible parking spaces and several accessible picnic tables along Water Street. Since many new structures have been built by businesses during this past week, city staff are now evaluating the street as a whole, to see what sections of sidewalk require ramps and additional infrastructure to be built. Adding ramps at strategic locations to improve accessibility is a priority and has always been included in the project plan.

City Inspectors have been on the street to meet with business owners, assess structures, and ensure that accessibility requirements are being addressed.

“We have heard loud and clear from the community that we need to do better to make sure the mall is a space for everyone,” said Councillor Debbie Hanlon. “We are currently working with Downtown St. John’s and our goal is to further educate the business community about the importance of maintaining a right of way on our sidewalks, and to ensure business owners have resources they need to improve their accessibility.”

Downtown St. John’s Business Commission is in the process of developing a ‘Ramps Up’ accessibility program.

“The purpose of this program is to assist business who wish to participate in building temporary ramps where possible, to address main entrance accessibility issues,” said Gaylynne Gulliver of Downton St. John’s. “Details of this program will be released to our members very soon.”

The city’s Inclusion staff are available to help business owners who would like to learn more about accessibility and resources, please email: inclusion@stjohns.ca.