Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

‘Street Seats’ program extended after positive feedback

Posted by on January 11th, 2013 at 8:57 am


The Street Seat installation on N Mississippi Ave.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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 streetseats@portlandoregon.gov.)

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.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

  • Gregg January 11, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I love these. Public space for the public! (Not for parking private vehicles.)
    I vote with my money: I actually started going to Mississippi Pizza regularly partially because of their support for this project.
    I hope to see more of these around town.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • zuckerdog January 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Great use of space.
    Future designs and installations need to better address stormwater flow along the gutter, though.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • henrik January 11, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I enjoy these too… just wish they had more of a protective barrier from cars… i just don’t fully trust drivers!!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Hart Noecker January 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Just imagine if they’d launched this program at the start of summer instead of the end. Please let us know where new parklets get installed, cuz I’ll definitely go spend my money there.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Sunny January 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Eyes on the street make for safer streets — as witnesses to the deterrence of crime, and perhaps wreckless/speeding drivers.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Anthony January 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Public space for the public! (Not for parking private vehicles.)

    Actually, it’s public space for private businesses. It’s not like a true park where anyone can just plop down whenever they feel like it. Only paying customers are allowed the privilege. So, in a sense, it’s even more private than before since it’s a fairly permanent structure as opposed to cars that (presumably) are merely temporary. That said, I’m not arguing one way or the other, as I have fairly mixed feelings about the issue.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • bicycle rider January 12, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      No actually they are open to anyone, patrons or not, but sure it benefits the business its directly in front of.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Doug K January 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I am not sure of the regulations, but I know that Mississippi Pizza, at least, had a sign on their street seat saying that everyone was welcome to use it, not just their customers.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • jim January 13, 2013 at 12:01 am

    By my calculations one parking spot is worth $5,760 dollars a year. The city seams intent on making money from the meters and more money from parking tickets which I didn’t factor into that number.
    Mississippi already doesn’t have enough parking spots or loading spots for cars and trucks. Trucks are often stopped in the middle of the street to unload. Cars are parked in the neighborhoods in front of residences. Any parking on mississippi should be preserved, and anyone taking a spot for comercial use should be compensating the city for a parking spot if it is in a metered area like down town. Paid parking will eventually come to Mississippi just because the city is greedy that way.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Terry D January 14, 2013 at 8:59 am

      1) This rule requires the business to reimburse the city if the spot is metered for lost revenue.
      2) Loading zones may be a problem, but that can be fixed through scheduling deliveries in low volume times or preserving “loading zones” where really needed.
      3) Too bad if shoppers park in front of residences. This is a CITY. That means strangers will park in front of your house sometimes. People who do not like this should move to suburbs or rural areas.
      4) It should not sadden us if some parking is removed and people have to actually WALK a few blocks to get where they are going. That at least will give these people who refuse to get out of their cars some exercise; since those of us who DO exercise subsidize the health care of those who do not, this is good for the public health and everyone’s pocket book.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bill Stites January 15, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Glad to hear that Mississippi Pizza has an open policy for non-customers.

    Overall a great program, but there really ought to be a requirement for unfettered public access in the policy [unlike the rope-a-dope on SW Ankeny]. It is reasonable that additional upkeep from general use should be part of the small price the business pays for prime square footage IN THE PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY.
    Don’t get me wrong, a net positive program, but please maintain the ethic and civility of public access to spaced owned by all-of-us.

    Recommended Thumb up 0