Significant changes are occurring along New Westminster’s riverfront as part of the City’s comprehensive Riverfront Vision, particularly in the interest of strengthening the public realm. In 2013, the City conducted a Downtown parking study which demonstrated that there was no need for half of the parking provided by the Front Street Parkade due to reduced car use. Subsequently, a portion of the Parkade (from Begbie Street to Sixth Street) was removed in 2015 and completely transformed the experience of Front Street by uncovering the historic building facades, daylighting the street, reducing traffic noise and restoring views to the working riverfront.
To further enhance the idea of street as public realm, Front Street was redeveloped as a “Mews” – a narrow, intimate street that balances the access and service functions of a lane with active building frontages, accessory uses, and a street space shared by cars, bicycles and pedestrians. Completed in June 2017, the one-way, shared street accommodates 35 back-in angled parking stalls on the south side of the street including three universally accessible stalls and loading areas. A continuous paving treatment for the street and sidewalk reinforces the idea of a shared, traffic calmed street and facilitates a wide range of daily activities as well as larger events and festivals.
Animated with street furniture, catenary lighting, a parklet and public art, the Mews continues to evolve into a great place, inviting people to linger, to socialize, and to truly experience the unique culture and character of Downtown New Westminster.