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.
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 safe transportation easier
Several transportation interventions have already been implemented to slow down the spread of COVID-19, for example, the reprogramming of traffic lights 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, and closing the northbound motor vehicle lane on McInnes Overpass to cars in order to reopen it for walking and cycling. Ongoing staff observations have identified areas of potential concern involving crowding or safety concerns due to increased numbers of walkers and cyclists. Technical review and potential design solutions are currently being developed for several locations, such as where parking could be reallocated to mitigate narrow sidewalk segments Uptown. The city will implement further changes in the context of available resources and prioritizing key areas first.
In early August 2020 to end of September 2020, the City will be introducing Cool Streets in accordance with other complimentary LQC street alteration projects in response to the Streets for People in 2020 Council motion. Cool Streets will be 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 is 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 will be piloted on 4 local streets in 2020:
- Ninth Street (Sixth Ave. - Queens Ave.)
- Eleventh Street (Sixth Ave. – Fourth Ave.)
- Fourth Avenue (Eleventh St. - First St.)
- Fourth Street (Eighth Ave. – Queens Ave.)
The proposed network builds on the streets that transportation staff have studied for local street bikeways and for active transportation routes. The criteria for designating Cool Streets also consider 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 contributes 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
You can also write, email, or call us at:
City of New Westminster
511 Royal Avenue
New Westminster, BC V3L 1H9