Thursday, July 08, 2021 - 3:15 PM

Accessibility Update: Downtown Pedestrian Mall

Accessibility and Inclusion at the Downtown Pedestrian Mall is a work in progress and there is more work to do. 

The downtown core is challenging due to age of infrastructure, buildings, steep hills and narrow streets. Many areas are not truly accessible for these reasons. City staff ensure that all Provincial legislation is adhered to but understand that current accessibility needs in the community often exceed current provincial requirements.

To improve navigation in various areas of the city, starting with downtown, work is underway to implement a GPS Application that seeks to enhance accessibility and navigation. The app uses customized GPS points, descriptions, and beacons. Further details will be released when available.

Accessible Parking
There are approximately 30 accessible parking spaces included in the mall area, up from nine last year. In the Pedestrian Mall Parking and Transportation map we’ve outlined these on-street spaces, as well as 36 accessible spaces that are located in private parking garages.

New this year, is the requirement that businesses always maintain a 2-metre barrier free sidewalk in front of their stores. Staff are actively monitoring sidewalks to ensure this is in place. If you notice a sidewalk section that is not passable at the Pedestrian Mall, please contact Access St. John’s to report it.

Please note, seasonal construction work on sidewalks throughout the city, including downtown, may require temporary sidewalk closures. Closures are necessary to ensure sidewalks are safe for all users.

Accessible Washrooms
Special Events staff worked closely with the City’s Inclusion team, Regulatory Services, and the City’s Inclusion Advisory Committee when looking to address accessible washroom access at the Downtown Pedestrian Mall. Noting that improvements need to be made in this area, below is a listing of businesses with accessible washrooms open to the public.

Open during business hours:

  • Anna Templeton Centre, 278 Duckworth Street
  • Bowring Building, 277 Water Street 
  • City Hall, 10 New Gower Street
  • TD Building (third floor), 140 Water Street

Accessible Picnic Tables
Approximately 10 accessible picnic table are placed in various areas throughout the Downtown Pedestrian Mall.

Please contact GoBus directly to plan your trip to and from the Pedestrian Mall via phone 368-8887, or email, or visit the GoBus website.

During the planning stage for 2021, business owners were required to design parklets that are flush with the sidewalk or provide a ramp to access the seating area (for areas that are sloped and unable to be flush with sidewalk). Inclusion tips and resources were provided to business owners as part of the application and approval process. Details about what was provided are on page five of the Parklet Checklist.

Inclusion Training and Education
In June, the City in partnership with Downtown St. John’s and members of the Inclusion Advisory Committee offered inclusion and accessibility training to downtown business owners. Inclusion information and resources have also been provided to security and maintenance staff for the mall.

Provincial Legislation and Next Steps
Staff in Special Events and Community Services continue to work with the Inclusion Advisory Committee and Downtown St. John’s to make changes and improvements where possible. Further details, recommendations and work in progress can be found in the Inclusion Advisory Committee meeting minutes.

The City also looks forward to working with the Provincial Government as they update legislation that will provide an accessibility framework for municipalities and businesses.

Image of an accessible picnic table at the Pedestrian Mall Downtown.

Image of a parklet that is flush with the sidewalk at the Downtown Pedestrian Mall.