Pedestrians and cyclists taking over Front Street and Sixth Street this weekend

Parts of Sixth Street and Front Street will be off-limits to vehicles this weekend.

In collaboration with the city, the Uptown Business Association is creating a pedestrian zone for Uptown New West on the four Saturdays in July. Starting July 4, the two-block stretch of Sixth Street, from Fifth Avenue to Sixth Avenue, and the half-block portion of Belmont Street, between Sixth Street and the alley, will be blocked to all vehicle traffic, transit and parking from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

According to the Uptown BIA, Coast Mountain Bus Service will continue to provide the 106 bus service, but there will be a diversion around this section.  Parking in the Westminster Centre and Royal City Centre parkades, as well as on-street parking on surrounding blocks, will still be available.

“We’ve envisioned this closure as an opportunity for the business owners and citizens of Uptown to claim and use the space,” said the notice on the Uptown BIA’s website. “We hope that walkers, cyclists, kids, youth and adults will enjoy the space free of cars and traffic, allowing for safe social distancing and movement.”

The Uptown BIA is encouraging business owners to: welcome people to the space and reassure regular customers that the space is theirs to enjoy without cars, traffic or parking hassles; program something special in their windows or shops or in the space in front of their businesses; and continue to promote and observe all the social distancing and COVID precautions they’ve adopted.

Downtown, the City of New Westminster is moving forward on plans to close Front Street to vehicle traffic on weekends starting July 4, so there is more space for people to walk, wheel and bike this summer.

“Opening Front Street to walking, wheeling and biking offers the community an exciting opportunity to experience a connected riverfront all the way from Begbie Street to Sapperton Landing,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said in a press release. “Local businesses are open to serve visitors, and it will be the ideal spot for both staying active or taking in the sights of historic Front Street.”

The city is prohibiting motor vehicle traffic, including trucks, from being on Front Street between East Columbia and Begbie streets from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. every Saturday, Sunday and holiday until Labour Day. Vehicle access to Front Street businesses remains open via Front Street Frontage Road.

The City of New Westminster invites businesses and community members to contact the transportation department to discuss ideas for events that could take place along the Front Street on weekends this summer.

© New West Record