Longmont prepares for the creation of downtown parklets – Longmont Times-Call
Longmont is preparing to create temporary “parklets” in some of the curb parking spaces outside the Main Street storefronts between Second and Sixth Avenues, with the goal of having at least some in place. ‘here mid-May.
As of Tuesday evening, city council is expected to approve a resolution accepting a $ 150,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to cover half the expected cost of fabricating and installing 30 of the plot structures. This state award is to be matched with $ 150,000 from the Longmont Downtown Development Authority budget to cover the remainder of the project’s expenses.
From mid-May to October 31, when the parklets are currently expected to be removed for the following cold months, the project will expand the outdoor space that businesses can exploit and the public can use along the Main Street corridor. . .
“The goal is to provide safe and reusable outdoor seating for the public and customers of Main Street businesses in response to the ongoing pandemic, with less impact on traffic,” staff said in a note to Tuesday’s Council meeting.
In Longmont’s request for the $ 150,000 state grant, the city said the parklets will allow retail businesses to provide outdoor seating to customers who comply with social distancing guidelines. This will increase the company’s ability to serve customers previously limited by COVID-19 door spacing requirements.
On April 1, restaurant owner Mike O’Shays, Rueben Verplank, wrote to Colorado Department of Transportation officials that his restaurant “would like to vehemently support the establishment of parklets in downtown Longmont.” Parklets can stimulate foot traffic by providing more leisure space. They can also make drivers more aware of speed limits. “
“Parklets can also encourage alternative transportation, but most importantly, people love them,” Verplank wrote.
City staff said in their documents to council for Tuesday’s meeting that each of the structures in the park will be 5 feet by 20 feet in size. They will be placed in the curbside parking lanes with support barricades separating them from the Main Street traffic lanes. Some of the parklets will be shared, using multiple adjacent parking spaces within a block. Others will be located individually.
Staff said the locations of the parks were determined in response to the Longmont Downtown Development Authority’s business and public needs surveys conducted last fall and follow-up meetings with businesses on Main Street. The companies will provide tables and seats for people using the parklets while they dine or just take a break from shopping downtown.
When the people at the Downtown Development Authority were asked to investigate the likelihood that they would use the parklets then considered, about 61% of the 1,643 people who answered this question said they would be “likely” to use them. , nearly 20% said it would be “somewhat likely”, around 6% said it was “somewhat unlikely”, 9% said it was “unlikely” and 4% “neither likely nor unlikely”.
Last year, Longmont installed concrete barriers along stretches of Main Street that closed some of the north-south traffic lanes as well as curbside parking lots. This year, the parklet project will not include the closure of traffic lanes on the street which is also a highway, such as US 287.
In support of the city’s grant application, Kimberlee McKee, executive director of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, wrote to officials at the Colorado Department of Transportation on April 2: “Our Bigger Hearts, Stronger Streets initiative, launched in 2020 in response to the pandemic, has helped business owners limit their capacity. and gave residents the opportunity to safely dine, walk and shop outdoors.
“As we involve the community in future planning, we are learning that not only is increased outdoor space a benefit throughout the pandemic, but will continue to be a desired option for years to come. come, ”McKee said.
Scott Cook, CEO of the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce, also wrote in support of the city’s grant proposal, which wrote on April 1 that “businesses in our downtown area and across town have been severely affected by COVID-19. It has been a difficult year and our business community has strived to be responsive, pivot business models, embrace new security protocols, and find new, innovative and secure ways to serve our community. “
Last year, the closure of some of the Main Street transportation lines, channeling Main Street traffic through much of the city center in one lane northbound and one lane southbound was one of the “Collaborations between economic development organizations, the city and businesses… to attract more audiences. space for recreational use and outdoor seating, ”Cook said.
“It was adopted by the community. This was all the more important as the historic nature of our downtown neighborhood did not allow significant space for outdoor expansion, ”said Cook. “This year, and I hope in the years to come, the use of parklets is an excellent compromise for our community. It gives our residents the outdoor space they want, while keeping the traffic lanes open. With this space, our community can come together and our businesses can safely reopen, serve the community, and continue on the road to recovery.
Verplank, owner of O’Shays Restaurant and the Ale House, wrote to state transportation officials in his letter supporting the project: “People across the country, and especially in Longmont, are realizing that the most valuable real estate should not be used for cars but rather for people. ! COVID-19 has made it difficult to socialize communities, and having a safer outdoor space has become an important part of both limiting the spread of the virus and meeting the repressed social needs of our community. Help us make Longmont the best city in Colorado. “
If you look
What: Regular meeting of the municipal council of Longmont
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Or: City council and staff will participate from remote locations. Residents can watch the meeting by clicking “play” on the video link in the interactive agenda window. The mayor will announce when people can call in to comment during the part of the meeting where the public is invited to have their voices heard.