During July and August of this year, Water Street in Gastown will become pedestrian-only as the City of Vancouver pilots a program to improve safety in and make the neighbourhood more welcoming to visitors.
The initiative will allow local establishments to extend patios, boost public seating, offer opportunities for special performances and art displays along the three-block-long street.
City services will support residents and business owners who need vehicle access with designated entry points along Water Street. A streamlined permitting process is also being implemented to allow businesses to take advantage of the new spaces.
Water Street is one of the busier tourist areas due to its historic role in the formation of Vancouver lined with turn-of-the-century buildings, recreated brick-paved streets and the popular Steam Clock. The sidewalks are frequently jammed with crowds in the summer, especially when there are multiple cruise ships docked at nearby Canada Place.
Before the project can begin, Maple Tree Square at the eastern end of Water Street will close for much needed maintenance work according to city officials. Details were not provided on what work is required and when it will start, but is expected in the coming weeks.
Upon completion of the pilot, city officials will review data and feedback to determine if the future holds a full closure of Water Street to vehicles or temporary seasonal closures.
Source: City of Vancouver
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