Redwood City unveils proposal for outdoor dining street closures

Proposals to close streets for outdoor dining unveiled

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The councils in Redwood City and San Carlos are next week scheduled to review proposals to close stretches of their downtowns to vehicular traffic to accommodate outdoor dining.

The proposals are part of an effort to boost business for local restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even when indoor dining is allowed to return, eateries will continue to be impacted as they will likely be required to reduce indoor dining capacity, officials say.

Redwood City proposal

City staff’s preliminary recommendation includes piloting full and partial rotating street closures Fridays through Sundays to allow local eateries to serve customers outdoors, according to city documents.

Identified downtown street segments for full and partial rotating closures include:·

  • Main St. – between Middlefield and Broadway
  • Broadway St. – between Main and Jefferson (Jefferson open to traffic)
  • Broadway St. – between Jefferson and Middlefield (Middlefield open to traffic)
  • Broadway St. – between Hamilton and Marshall¬∑
  • Broadway St. – between Perry St. and El Camino (Broadway St. open to traffic)

The program would run from July — with a proposed start date of July 11 — to late September and would be reassessed in September, the city states.

The city has been working within a task force on the plan that includes the Redwood Downtown Business Group, Redwood City Improvement Association, Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce, and New City America. The organizations have been working on a broader post-COVID-19 mitigation plan to support the local economy.

The taskforce aims to dedicate takeout and delivery areas for restaurants during the street closures. In addition, the taskforce is exploring the possibility of allowing restaurants citywide to use private sidewalks and parking lots for outdoor dining, carhop dining and takeout.

A cost for the pilot program has not yet been determined. The proposal is set to be reviewed at the Redwood City council remote meeting that starts at 7 p.m. on Monday. Access the agenda and city documents here.

San Carlos proposal

For a period of six months ending Dec. 31, the city is proposing to temporarily close the 600 and 700 blocks of Laurel Street and temporarily eliminate parking on portions of Laurel Street and San Carlos Avenue to allow outdoor dining. Under the plan, restaurants and other businesses would be able to use street parking spaces to serve customers within these blocks, which would open to service, delivery and street maintenance vehicles tentatively from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily.

A subcommittee that developed the proposal did not recommend closing the 800 and 900 blocks of Laurel Street or the 1100 bock of San Carlos Avenue to vehicular traffic due to the potential impact on downtown traffic patterns. Instead, it proposed using barricades to separate the parking spaces from through traffic to allow businesses in these areas to use the parking spaces to serve customers.

The San Carlos program is expected to cost roughly $95,000 for the barricades (water walls) and signage, city documents said.

The proposal is set to be reviewed at the San Carlos council’s remote meeting that starts at 7 p.m. on Monday. Access the agenda and city documents here.