Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 11th, 2013 at 8:57 am
The Portland Bureau of Transportation says its 'Street Seats' program has been so well-received by business owners and citizens that it will be extended. The program, which allows cafe owners to extend their seating areas into the parking lane, was launched in August of last year and was originally set to expire at the end of December.
Now, PBOT says they've already extended one of the Street Seat installation permits and they plan to begin accepting new applications after the program guidelines are updated this spring.
During the pilot period, three Streets Seat installations were built: Wafu (3113 SE Division), Oven & Shaker (1134 NW Everett St) and Mississippi Pizza Pub (3552 N Mississippi Ave). Of those three, only Mississippi Pizza's is still intact. They've requested (and received) a permit extension for their installation that runs through April 2013.
In a web post published yesterday, PBOT says they conducted an online survey about the program and received nearly 100 responses. Of those, 90% of businesses "believed that the Street Seats program would benefit neighborhood businesses" and 80% of citizens surveyed, "felt that Street Seats positively impacted their street’s vitality." (You can still give feedback via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Back in September, PBOT was asked if the program would be extended to residential areas. Spokesman Dan Anderson told The Oregonian that, "If the pilot proves successful and becomes and ongoing program, we’ll consider expanding it to other types of land use."
I shared my thoughts on the program back in October. While I have some qualms about dedicating precious road space to dining patios, overall it seems like a great way to create a more humane streetscape. It's also a much more thoughtful way of using public space than parking two automobiles. While in San Francisco (the city that pioneered this idea, calling them "parklets") over the holidays, I was inspired by their designs. One of their parklets even incorporated bike parking.
No word yet from PBOT on how/if their program will significantly change. If you have thoughts about this, remember to send them in via the email above. We'll share the new guidelines once they come out.