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Downing Street will be turned into a pedestrian plaza connecting city hall to the riverfront. (Google Street View)

The City of Moncton’s plans for the future Downing Street — which will connect city hall to the Petitcodiac River — include a giant plaza where 15,000 people can gather and an observation deck extending over the river.

The block-long Downing Plaza will be mainly for pedestrians, but there will be space for vehicles.

"Almost as far as to the atrium at the Blue Cross Centre, that's more than enough to host 15,000 people at an event, which is for Moncton, right? This where the residents of Moncton are intended to celebrate," said urban architect Jim Scott.

Currently, Downing Street is a dead-end and a parking lot exit.

Construction of the first part of the street will start this summer. Later sections will be added over the next five years.

One of the biggest problems will be getting people safely across Assomption Boulevard, which runs next to the river.

Scott says the boulevard was poorly planned as it cuts off the riverbank from the city.

"The notion of separating the riverfront from the downtown is a mistake that's been done in almost every city," Scott said.

The city will build a pedestrian-friendly roundabout at the corner of Assomption and Downing Plaza, he says.

That should cut down on traffic and will allow cars to be rerouted when the city wants to shut down the area for big events, he says.