Manitoba

Pedestrian mall experiment starts in Winnipeg's Exchange District

A new pilot project is being launched in the Exchange District to see if people will embrace the idea of pedestrian-only streets in Winnipeg.

Part of Albert Street to be closed off to traffic on Saturday afternoons this September

Starting this Saturday, one block of Albert Street between McDermot and Bannatyne avenues will be closed to traffic. It's part of an experiment to see if Winnipeggers will embrace the idea of pedestrian malls. (Submitted by Chris Stanton )

A new pilot project is being launched in the Exchange District to see if Winnipeggers will embrace the idea of pedestrian-only streets.

For every Saturday in September, one block of Albert Street between McDermot and Bannatyne avenues will be closed to traffic, creating a pedestrian mall.

The experiment is an initiative of the Exchange District Business Improvement Zone, after the city approached the organization to conduct it.

David Pensato, the executive director of the BIZ, said the idea has been floated for decades.

The plan is to just try different things and see if it's something people enjoy, he said.

Exchange District BIZ executive director David Pensato said businesses on Albert Street will be invited to come out onto the street, while the organization will also be setting up furniture and games for passersby. (Submitted by Chris Stanton )

"We're not programming it like an event, because we do want it be an honest experiment of what the conditions would be like if the street was for pedestrians," he said.

"We're not trying to compete with any of the businesses on the streets around there. What we're doing is we're inviting the businesses that are on Albert to come out onto the street."

The area will be closed off to cars from noon to 5 p.m., with furniture, buskers and games set up for people to enjoy.

With files from Stephen Ripley 

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