By Nathaniel Minor May 28, 2020, Colorado Public Radio
At least a dozen Colorado cities are making plans — or thinking about making plans — to temporarily close streets to give restaurants and other businesses more space to serve their customers.
That supports the state’s new guidelines that allow restaurants to reopen while encouraging more outdoor dining to help ensure social distancing.
Some cities are allowing eateries to expand onto sidewalks and into alleyways, while others are creating new pedestrian malls. They all tend to be in relatively dense, downtown areas. Here’s a brief round-up.
Will Close Soon
Much of Olde Town Arvada will close to cars through Labor Day.
Several blocks near the existing Pearl Street pedestrian mall and in the University Hill business district will close Friday. The city is also streamlining the process for restaurants to expand seating onto nearby public and private property.
Part of Main Street will close to cars to create a pedestrian mall and give businesses more space, though some restaurant owners are skeptical about the plan.
A block of Main Street will be reduced to one-way traffic to give restaurants more space.
Portions of Main Street will close this summer through Oct. 5.
The city will allow restaurants to use some nearby parking spots and sidewalks for more seating, but won’t close any streets.
Two blocks of F Street in downtown will close, and nearby businesses are also allowed to expand into their parking lots.
Colorado Avenue will be reduced to one lane to give business more space, starting June 1.
Still Thinking About It
A city survey showed public support for closing some streets and otherwise expanding outdoor dining. A plan will go to the town council June 1.
The city is exploring closing one block of Tejon Street in downtown.
The town council is considering a proposal that would close a lane of Elk Street, Crested Butte’s main drag. Town staff say it’s meant to give businesses more space, not to create a new pedestrian mall.
Colorado’s capital city closed eight segments of streets last month for recreational purposes, and advocates are pushing for them to stay closed permanently. Meanwhile, the Downtown Denver Partnership has asked the city to close streets in nine commercial corridors — many of which are old street-car hubs — to give businesses more space.
The city is also taking applications for businesses that want to expand into their parking lots or other adjacent outdoor spaces. As of Wednesday, one application has been approved.
Main Avenue in downtown would partially close under a proposal.
A city proposal under consideration now would close Main Street on certain days and evenings through Labor Day.
The city is studying ways to give businesses more outdoor space, which could include occasionally closing Main Street.