April 19, 2021

Streeteries: We’re not going back

One confident post-pandemic prediction: the curbside patio – or streeterie – is here to stay.  Like these on Yew Street yesterday:

Irony alert: some businesses would have opposed the loss of the required curb parking tooth and nail if not for the pandemic.  Instead, this summer we should see some creativity and upscaling of streeterie design, so important have they become in the economics of eating.  (Likewise, more debate at City Hall on how much should eventually be charged for this valuable public space to offset the parking revenue loss.)

As for the inside of restaurants, lots of lessons have been learned that will be incorporated into permanent design changes.  But there’s still a debate as to whether deliberate crowding will be avoided or desired.  From Fortune:

Warren Weixler, cofounder of creative design firm Swatchroom, based in Washington, D.C., agrees. “I think the idea of packing a bar shoulder-to-shoulder and trying to sling as many drinks as possible is a thing of the past.” …

…. some say, not so fast. Knudsen of Concrete Hospitality … predicts (temporary partitions) will be gone by the end of this year. His team is even continuing to add communal tables into their restaurant designs.

“We’re social creatures,” he says. “The pandemic has proven that we need that interaction. And you can’t replace that.” If some packed bars and restaurants in places that have lifted all COVID restrictions are any indication, Knudsen may be right.

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  1. West Vancouver has an ideal place for this on 14th between Marine and Bellevue. Two restaurants front of it, and another around the corner. It is already paved and designated as a “Festival Street”. It provides no significant car access that is not otherwise available a short block in either direction. It is an ideal candidate for becoming a pedestrian plaza with expanded outdoor dining. But. And this the big but. I has 10 free parking spots on it. So years of consultation will be required, and it is very likely that nothing will happen.

    I’d love them to prove me wrong, but the West Vancouver council’s defence (on behalf of the ADBIA) of free parking on every spare square metre of land in the district has been largely unassailable.

  2. The reason to have parking meters is not to create revenue, it’s to provide encourage shorter periods of parking. In places where there’s free parking, one person shows up in the morning and stays all day (or several days). The parking charge is meant to have them not do that so that someone else can park there for a short time.

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