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There's now more free parking in downtown Port Coquitlam

The more than 55 new stalls are part of Port Coquitlam's continuing effort to attract shoppers and visitors to its downtown.
More free parking spaces in downtown Port Coquitlam should make it easier for Christmas shoppers.

Just in time for holiday shopping, it's getting easier and cheaper to park in downtown Port Coquitlam.

The city has created 57 new free parking stalls in an existing underground parkade at Samz Pub on McAllister Avenue. They’ll be available to anyone shopping downtown or visiting city hall nearby.

In a release, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said the city’s work to create the stalls, improve lighting in the parkade and erect signs is part of its ongoing effort to create "a more positive experience for residents and visitors to visit downtown."

He added more downtown parking options will be announced in the upcoming months.

Coun. Dean Washington, PoCo council’s designate for downtown matters, said more free parking "enhances the overall downtown experience."

The city is also boosting its public spaces.

Leigh Square, next to city hall, is currently being reconstructed to expand the plaza, add new seating decks, enhanced lighting and a water feature as well as a performance pavilion.

Last June 27, Veterans Park in front of city hall reopened after a $2.1-million upgrade that includes a larger plaza, new seating and a grand pathway leading to the cenotaph.

As well, McAllister Avenue east of Shaughnessy Street has had a major facelift to make it more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists with a new multi-use pathway, more trees and landscaping and restricting cars to one-way. That project cost $4.43 million.

The city is also extending Donald Pathway and adding new lighting and landscaping.

West said all the upgrades will help make will help the city achieve its vision of the downtown as "a safe, welcoming and thriving hub that attracts visitors and residents."