This past weekend could have marked the final chance for restaurant patrons to enjoy a meal straddling the double-yellow roadway markings on Kirkwood Avenue. It’s been an option since mid-June, and was set to expire on Sept. 30.
But Bloomington’s city council acted on Wednesday to extend through the end of the year the authorization for the periodic closing of sections of Kirkwood Avenue to automobile traffic. The same action allowed for expanded merchandizing and seating in the public right of way.
The resolution, approved unanimously by the city council on Wednesday, also extended the easing of sign regulations for downtown businesses, and the simplification of procedures for obtaining a sign permit.
The council’s initial action in June came at the request of the city’s economic and sustainable development department, as way to help restaurants recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the pandemic continues. The same logic applied to the extension.
Expanded outdoor seating allows restaurants to draw business from patrons who would not choose to eat at a restaurant at all, if it meant dining indoors.
A “parklet” program, which sets up barricades around street parking spaces for expanded outdoor restaurant meeting, without closing down the whole street, did not need additional city council action on Wednesday to continue. Continue reading “Bloomington city council paves way for middle-of-the-road approach to outdoor dining through year’s end”