Streets for People

Streets for People in 2020 is an initiative to support more walking, wheeling, and biking on streets, sidewalks, greenways and in business areas of New Westminster, to ensure proper physical distancing and provide space for people to stay active outdoors. Streets for People accelerates other city initiatives to increase the use of sustainable modes of transportation, and work toward reallocating 10% of the city’s road space to sustainable transportation modes by 2030.

Streets for people in 2020 events

September 25 - October 12. Streets for People in 2020 - Self-Guided Walking or Biking Tour Around Town

Organized by:

Thanks to our community partners:

Reallocating road space

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we all live, learn, work, and play. A key guideline recommended by the Provincial Health Officer has been to practice physical distancing. It is hard to keep two meters apart from others on narrow and busy streets, sidewalks and greenways, or when visiting restaurants and other businesses. Streets for People in 2020 aims to support healthy ways to get around, reallocating road space in New Westminster, improving access to businesses, and providing space for carbon-neutral travel in support of physical distancing.

Urban areas around the world are currently demonstrating a commitment to reclaiming roads by rapidly converting automobile-only space to more equitable uses that better support neighbourhood livability, commercial district viability, community resiliency, and public safety during the crisis and into post-pandemic times.

Making Sustainable Transportation Safer and More Convenient

Several transportation interventions were implemented earlier this year in response to COVID-19, for example, the reprogramming of some traffic signals in the Downtown, Uptown and Sapperton areas to change automatically so that pedestrians and cyclists do not have to push buttons to cross the road (seven of these signals have reverted to original operation due to unintended issues at adjacent intersections and bus speed and reliability issues), closing one of the southbound lanes of traffic on East Columbia Street at Lower Hume Park to make it safer for walking and cycling, and closing the northbound motor vehicle lane on McInnes Overpass to cars in order to reopen it for walking and cycling.  

The following improvements have been installed since the summer as part of Streets for People in 2020:

1. Shared lane markings, or “sharrows” on several streets throughout the city that help alert drivers to cyclists on shared roads while guiding people as they ride along bike routes

2. Pedestrian crossing improvements such as curb extensions to shorten the crossing distance, pavement markings, signage, flashing beacons, and improved street lighting at four locations: Eighth St. & Third Ave, Twelfth St. & Fourth Ave, Eleventh St. & Sixth Ave, Richmond St. near Miner St.

3. Multi-use pathway on the east side of Moody Park between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, as well as signal replacement at Eighth Ave & Eighth St., to improve connectivity to the new NWSS, Massey Theatre and

4. Moody Park Arena (project cost partly funded by TransLink’s cycling infrastructure improvement program)

5. Interim greenway facility between First St. and Seventh St. as part of the Agnes Greenway project

6. Initial installation of new school crosswalk signage to increase driver awareness

7. Changes to Sixth Ave sidewalk space in response to public input

Many of the improvements under the program are being trialed as pilot projects that are meant to be adjusted as the program progresses.

The Streets for People in 2020 initiative addresses two of the City’s seven climate action bold steps: car light community, with the goal of 60% of all trips within the City to be made by sustainable modes of transportation (walk, transit, bike, multi-occupant shared) by 2030; and quality people-centred public realm, with the goal of 10% of today’s street space reallocated for sustainable transportation or public gathering by 2030.

Cool Streets

In early August 2020 to end of September 2020, the City will be introduced Cool Streets in accordance with other complimentary LQC street alteration projects in response to the Streets for People in 2020 Council motion. Cool Streets was piloted on four local streets where light-quick-cheap (LQC) interventions will be introduced to create space for residents to walk, roll, cycle, gather and socialize in a “cool” environment while adhering to physical distance guidelines. The intent of the initiative was to:

1) Increase space for people;

2) Improve access and connectivity to parks and open space in high density, low income and park deficient neighbourhoods; and

3) Capitalize on the cooling benefits provided by large street trees.

Cool Streets was piloted on 4 local streets in 2020:

  1. Ninth Street (Sixth Ave. - Queens Ave.)
  2. Eleventh Street (Sixth Ave. – Fourth Ave.)
  3. Fourth Avenue (Eleventh St. - First St.)
  4. Fourth Street (Eighth Ave. – Queens Ave.)

The proposed network built on the streets that transportation staff had studied for local street bikeways and for active transportation routes. The criteria for designating Cool Streets also considered vulnerable populations including areas with:

• High Population Density

• High Senior Population

• Low Household Income

• Low Park Provision

In temporarily re-allocating street space toward pedestrian, cyclist, and public gathering space during the summer months, this initiative contributed to the City's response to the Climate Emergency towards achieving a car light community (Bold Step #2), growing a robust urban forest (Bold Step #6) and creating a people-centred public realm through 10% reallocation of streets (Bold Step #7).

You can share your thoughts with us about Streets for People using this online form

General Contact Form  

You can also write, email, or call us at:

City of New Westminster
511 Royal Avenue
New Westminster, BC V3L 1H9
T:  604-521-3711