Skip to content

Burnaby one step closer to car-free summer Sunday events on major roads

Some councillors had concerns about blocking major arterials.
Burnaby is considering more car-free days in the summer, like the StreetFest on Central event.

A Burnaby councillor’s proposal for car-free Sundays on certain major roads in the summer proved popular with his colleagues this week.

Coun. Pietro Calendino suggested closing sections of major commercial corridors from mid-May to mid-September at least once a month on a rotating basis.

Calendino said he received a great deal of interest from the community about the motion he submitted, which council unanimously supported at its meeting Jan. 29.

“Everybody’s wanting to be outside and collaborate with their neighbourhood,” Calendino said.

He asked staff to study car-free Sundays on the following roads:

  • Hastings Street from Boundary Road to Gamma Avenue (may coincide with Hats Off Day)
  • Kingsway from Patterson Avenue to Royal Oak Avenue
  • Edmonds Street between Kingsway and Canada Way
  • Sixth Street between Edmonds Street and 10th Avenue
  • Central Boulevard (may coincide with July 1 StreetFest)

Calendino said he dreamed up the idea recently while vacationing in Mexico City, where a major artery is closed to cars on three Sundays of the month.

“There are tens of thousands of people doing all sorts of activities like walking, cycling, skating, playing ping pong, pickleball, teaching dance performances, and, of course, all sorts of vendors along the street in the sidewalk,” he said.

He added car-free streets would contribute positively to climate change.

Coun. Daniel Tetrault agreed.

“I think there’s education opportunities that could really highlight how we use large amounts of road space dedicated to cars and how that can be used differently,” Tetrault said.

Coun. James Wang supported the idea but said he was concerned about closing Kingsway, a main east-west corridor.

But Coun. Sav Dhaliwal reminded him Hats Off Day has blocked off Hastings Street, another major thoroughfare, “very successfully” for decades once a year.

Staff will report back to council on what is possible and how much it would cost.