People sitting and eating outdoors in Vancouver's Gastown

Water Street pedestrian zone coming to Gastown summer 2024

February 7 2024 –

Following Council direction, the City will temporarily turn Water Street into a pedestrian zone this coming July and August. The upcoming pilot is part of City investments and efforts to make Gastown a more vibrant, clean, safe and people-friendly destination for everyone.  

During the pedestrian zone pilot, sections of Water Street will be closed to vehicles to allow for public seating, community activations, expanded patios, merchandise displays, art installations, special events and active transportation.  

“We’re committed to revitalizing Gastown and taking bold steps to make this iconic neighbourhood a people-friendly, safe and clean destination,” says Mayor Ken Sim. “Transforming Water Street into an activated pedestrian zone this summer presents an exciting opportunity to showcase the vibrant businesses and attractions that Gastown has to offer.”  

In preparation for the pilot, City staff will continue to work closely with area residents and businesses to support their access needs and reduce impacts. Throughout the pilot, local access points for vehicles will be maintained at designated sections along Water Street. 

To ensure businesses can easily and creatively use the additional street space, the City is offering flexible design options and simplified permitting processes for expanded patios, merchandise displays and other potential business uses.  

More information about the Water Street Pedestrian Zone Pilot will be shared as planning continues. 

Upcoming repairs and traffic changes 

In advance of the Water Street Pedestrian Zone Pilot, this spring the City will be making urgent repairs to Maple Tree Square. Maple Tree Square will be closed to vehicles during repairs, resulting in traffic changes and impacts throughout Gastown. More information on the upcoming repairs and associated traffic changes will be shared in the coming weeks through a technical briefing for media.   
The Water Street Pedestrian Zone Pilot is the first initiative to come out of the Gastown Public Spaces Plan, which is exploring the future of public spaces in Gastown. Feedback from the pilot, and future public engagement on the Gastown Public Spaces Plan, will inform a long-term vision for pedestrianizing Water Street. Staff will report back to Council in fall 2024 on the pilot outcomes.  

For more information on all Gastown related projects, or to sign-up for project updates, visit

View the Council report (1.1 MB).