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Councillor proposes pedestrian mall

Troy Shantz A Sarnia councillor wants to permanently close off a street to vehicle traffic and create a pedestrian-and-cyclist-only zone in the city’s downtown. Bill Dennis said he will seek council support for a staff feasibility study next week.
DennisVision
This stretch of Lochiel Street in the downtown could be converted to a pedstrian mall if a city councillor’s idea finds support. Troy Shantz.

Troy Shantz

A Sarnia councillor wants to permanently close off a street to vehicle traffic and create a pedestrian-and-cyclist-only zone in the city’s downtown.

Bill Dennis said he will seek council support for a staff feasibility study next week.

Bill Dennis

Lochiel Street between Front and Christina would be an ideal place to test the concept, said Dennis, who got the idea during a recent trip to Cleveland.

“I’d love to see more streetside patios and cafes. I’d love to see maybe some more green space downtown,” he said. “Maybe a place for street vendors or artists, almost like a year-round place for Artwalk.”

Car-free streets are a growing trend in North American cities, with Montreal alone closing off at least a dozen streets in the past four years.

Mitton Village is another area that could benefit from a pedestrian mall, Dennis said.

“Mitton Village in my opinion… that is going to be the next great thing. It could be a really cool district of some sort. I think people that invest in that area will be well rewarded.”

Residents and impacted businesses would be consulted before anything is approved, Dennis added.