Laserfiche WebLink
BACKGROUND <br /> Temporary Pop-Ups during COVID-19 <br /> During the COVID-19 pandemic, significant restrictions were placed on indoor dining <br /> and retail operations. To provide some flexibility and relief to local businesses, the City <br /> allowed businesses to temporarily expand outdoors into locations where outdoor use by <br /> businesses is typically not permitted. These outdoor expansions are called "pop-ups". <br /> The City's temporary pop-ups allowed for seating areas, furnishings, and coverings <br /> (e.g., tents and canopies) to be installed within outdoor locations, including the public <br /> right-of-way in on-street parking spaces and sidewalk areas, as well as in private <br /> parking lots. The City provided minimal guidelines (e.g., areas demarcated for <br /> emergency vehicle access shall be kept clear and pop-ups must be at least five feet <br /> away from driveways). However, to help limit costs and barriers for businesses, the City <br /> did not require specific designs, furniture, built platforms, or amenities. <br /> Twenty different businesses received approval for pop-ups in the City right-of-way within <br /> the downtown. Approximately fifty additional pop-up approvals were issued for pop-ups <br /> on private property, both within and outside downtown. Each individual pop-up typically <br /> occupies from zero to three parking spaces (i.e., some are located on the sidewalk) and <br /> incorporates varying levels of design and amenities. Approval of pop-ups has been <br /> granted on a temporary basis, with the approvals valid while indoor dining is prohibited <br /> with potential extension by the City as it sees fit. City staff has advised pop-up operators <br /> that pop-ups will be allowed through Labor Day weekend (September 6, 2021) — <br /> coinciding with the end of the Weekend on Main Street closures — and will have to be <br /> removed thereafter. <br /> Generally, the City has received positive feedback about the vibrancy the pop-ups have <br /> added downtown. The program has provided welcome relief and an opportunity for <br /> businesses to maintain a healthier volume of customers than would have otherwise <br /> been allowed. The pop-ups have been consistently occupied during lunch and dinner <br /> periods, and even with the ending of COVID restrictions in mid-June have proven a <br /> popular option for restaurant patrons. <br /> Nonetheless, and despite their popularity, the City has also received some criticism of <br /> the program. This predominately includes impacts to parking and undesirable aesthetics <br /> of some of the pop-ups, particularly now that COVID restrictions have been lifted and <br /> downtown activity is starting to return to pre-pandemic conditions. <br /> Downtown Parklets <br /> Parklets are typically small public open spaces built in the public right-of-way. They tend <br /> to occupy one or two on-street parking spaces and be built on platforms flush to the <br /> sidewalk. They are often created where narrow or congested sidewalks prevent the <br /> installation of traditional sidewalk dining or seating areas and where there is a desire to <br /> expand the available public space on a street. They provide a space for the public to <br /> eat, interact, and/or relax, and are typically a cost-effective means of increasing open <br /> space in busy commercial areas, can encourage traffic calming, and enhance the <br /> Page 2of6 <br />