The Water Street Pedestrian Mall was created by the City of St. John's to aid businesses in the downtown core to extend their seating capacity during the summer since Covid restrictions had severally impacted them.
Everyone who has visited or lived in St. John's knows where Water Street is and when the St. John's City Council announced they were going to shut down this street to car traffic, people and businesses were a little worried and skeptical. This year has been particularly straining on all businesses, so trying to alleviate some of that stress, the Pedestrian Mall idea was created. On a normal summer day in St. John's, you would see many people shopping, stopping for lunch, grabbing a coffee in between meetings or just out for a stroll. When Covid hit our world, everything changed. Most people who work in the downtown core were and are still working from home, no tourists were allowed in and very few people were walking the streets. It was literally a ghost town. The City finalized a plan quickly and on Friday, July 3 the Pedestrian Mall was created.
The city closed Water Street to traffic, allowing deliveries up to 12:00 p.m. and with a great effort by many businesses to make this work, they spent a lot of time, energy and money building unique patios and structures extending their seating. The city and downtown committee added picnic tables and other seating hoping to attract customers and bring people to the street.
We are happy to report the Pedestrian Mall was a huge success and it was a fantastic summer! It has increased foot traffic, brought in a lot of new faces and people who haven't come to downtown before. It became a real community space that gave people the freedom to walk freely around the street, enjoying the company of others, while grabbing a bite to eat. Whether you came for the food, shopping or a walk, one thing was clear that people loved the concept and are looking forward to next summer.
We hope by now you have had a chance to visit the mall. The restaurants have extended their patio days till November 1st so theres still time, however, the street has returned to open traffic again. We loved the pedestrian mall and are hoping it continues next summer with some upgrades such as new street lighting and some added greenery. If you have any suggestions we encourage you to contact the city to give your input. Meanwhile, we hope you still come downtown to shop local and support all businesses all year round.