Events coming up for New Westminster’s Streets for People 2020

Happy City and HUB Cycling are teaming up with the City of New Westminster on several events to promote Streets for People 2020.

In May, city council approved a Streets for People 2020 motion, which aims to reallocate vehicle-only road spaces in New Westminster to uses that support neighbourhood livability, commercial district viability, community resilience and public safety. The initiative is intended to support more walking, wheeling and biking, while providing space for people to safely stay active outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“It’s important that we support walking and cycling on our roads as we shift away from vehicle reliance and move towards safer, more sustainable, and more equitable modes of transportation” Mayor Jonathan Cote said in a news release.

 To provide more space for physical distancing, the city has already reallocated a number of lanes normally used by vehicles to pedestrians and cyclists. These include the McInnes Overpass, East Columbia Street (near  Lower Hume Park ), Sixth Street (just south of Sixth Avenue), and Sixth Avenue (near Eighth Street; Front Street was closed to vehicles on weekends during the summer.

According to a press release from the city, Streets for People accelerates other city initiatives to increase the use of sustainable modes of transportation, and also works toward reallocating 10% of the city’s road space to sustainable transportation modes by 2030.

As part of the Streets for People 2020 initiative, HUB Cycling and Happy City are hosting a variety of events including information stations, scavenger hunts, family cycling courses, self-guided bike and walking tours, a New West Shop Local Challenge, surveys and more.  These events are intended to support Streets for People initiatives and to provide opportunities for people to share their experiences and perspectives.

Here are some of the events planned in support of Streets for People 2020 (all featuring (COVID protocols):

* Self-guided walking tours are taking place daily until Monday, Oct. 12. A self-guided tour will highlight points of interest around town and highlight fun facts and places to explore.  Participants are invited to enter to win $200 to spend at any local business of their choosing. For a copy of the PDF map, go to www.newwestcity.ca and follow the links on the calendar of events.

McInnes overpass
The McInnes overpass is the location for a Sept. 28 Streets for People event. The city closed one lane of the overpass to motorists in March, in an effort to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians. - File

* Celebrate Walking, Rolling and Biking takes place on Monday, Sept. 28 (today) from 3 to 5 p.m. on the McInnes overpass, between Carnarvon Street and Quayside Drive. HUB Cycling and Happy City are hosting family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible activities, including an information pop-up about Streets for People, a scavenger hunt, free bicycle tune-ups, guided walking/biking tours and a chance to win a $150 gift certificate for the New Westminster shop of your choice.  

* Cool Streets Commotion is on Friday, Oct. 2 from 3 to 5 p.m. on Ninth Street between Fourth Avenue and Kennedy Street. It includes an afternoon of free bicycle safety checks, family and wheelchair-accessible games, information about Streets for People and a chance to win a $150 gift card for the New Westminster store of your choice. (Ninth Street –  one of the four streets that’s been temporarily designated as a “cool street” as part of a pilot project –  features signage encouraging local traffic only so there’s more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

* Family Street Wise Cycling Course is on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Queen’s Park. A second session is taking place on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Hume Park. Happy City, the City of New Westminster and HUB Cycling are teaming up on a cycling course that includes on-bike skills training and a neighbourhood road ride led by a certified cycling instructor. The course, which is tailored to kids aged eight to 14 and their families, will provide an opportunity to learn about traffic safety and to build road safety skills and confidence in a fun environment.

* Plazas and Patios of Uptown is on Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Sixth and Sixth in uptown New West. Happy City, HUB Cycling and Uptown businesses are hosting family-friendly activities and games, including free bicycle safety checks, an information pop-up about Streets for People and a chance to win a $150 gift certificate to a New West store of your choice.

* Shop Local Challenge, which is taking place on Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at various locations, is an initiative intended to support local businesses. Local businesses will be offering free goodies to participants who register for this challenge and get there by walking, rolling, transit or bike. Participants will have a chance to win a $150 gift certificate to the store of their choice. Stay tuned for more details about participating 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,” states a city notice about the initiative. “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.”

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