The City of San Luis Obispo is rolling out new parklets to allow customers to enjoy alfresco dining, alfresco hairstyles and more.
The new arrangement – which follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s July 13 order requiring the closure of indoor restaurants, beauty salons, bars, and other coronavirus-related industries – offers seating in outdoors in several new spaces along major sections of the city’s downtown core.
Parklets are defined as rest areas or green spaces, created for public use on or along a sidewalk, often where there was a curbside parking space.
The city is also allowing more use of parking lots to help businesses sit people outside.
Farmhouse Corner Market, The Madonna Inn and Taste are among the local businesses that have recently installed seating in their parking lots.
“Our recently expanded outdoor patio will continue to grow and provide plenty of seating while allowing you to maintain social distancing,” Farmhouse Corner Market announced on its Facebook page on July 14. and ready to change direction in an instant.
While suspending its weekend street closures as part of its Open SLO program, the city is encouraging the use of sidewalks for outdoor dining and shopping.
The city suspended its street closure program, which opened in mid-June, July 15 after some downtown business owners complained that the temporary closure of parts of Higuera and Monterey streets in automobile traffic interfered with the movement of their customers.
SLO installs more than two dozen parklets
San Luis Obispo’s parklet program includes rapid installations of around 25 temporary parklets using barricades filled with water and other materials to allow businesses to expand into the parking lanes.
Parklets are currently located on several downtown streets, including Higuera and Monterey streets.
The first public park to be installed is outside the Big Sky Cafe on Broad Street and cost about $ 10,000 to build, said Luke Schwartz, director of transportation for San Luis Obispo. It has a lounge area with umbrellas and tables for dining in front of the new Hotel Cerro.
“This is the cheapest design approach we felt comfortable with and could be flexible enough to be deployed in other locations,” said Schwartz, adding that the pilot parklet had tested the design and materials to ensure that “we like the concept before we reproduce it.”
The city allocated $ 200,000 to its Open SLO program in March and added an additional $ 100,000 to the program at Tuesday’s meeting as part of the city’s $ 566,000 in federal CARES funding.
San Luis Obispo City Council also allocated $ 200,000 in small business grants, $ 30,000 for programs for the homeless, and approximately $ 236,000 in reimbursements to the city for the city’s unbudgeted COVID-19 costs. .
Most parklet barricades are temporary to ensure businesses can continue to operate safely, city officials say.
“We are in the process of replacing them with semi-permanent parklets like the one in front of Big Sky Cafe, working with companies to build theirs or painting / covering them in the meantime,” Greg Hermann, city deputy . manager, wrote in an email.
The city is also installing permanent parklets. These can be fully or partially funded by neighboring businesses and the city, which owns them regardless of who pays for the structure.
“Almost every restaurant I’ve spoken with in the downtown core would like to move to a more permanent park, similar to Big Sky, if funding allows,” said Luke Schwartz. “A few even choose to design and finance their own facilities faster – for example, Kreuzberg Coffee and Buffalo Pub. “
Schwartz said a private company could likely build a park in about three to four weeks – “from design to installation depending on the availability of the contractor and materials and on delivery times.”
The costs of building parking lots vary from around $ 10,000 to $ 30,000.
Barbershops, hairdressing salons to operate outdoors
Under the state’s reopening guidelines, salons and barber shops can operate outdoors, and San Luis Obispo has at least three of these businesses that have parklets or are in the process of planning for them, said Lee Johnson, the city’s acting director of economic development.
They include Twig & Arrow Salon, The Ritual, and Bladerunner Salon & Day Spa.
Other restaurants that plan to use their parking lots for dinner include Café Roma, which needs a permit because its Railroad Square parking lot is owned by the city, Schwartz said. Private parking lots do not need a city permit.
Leonard Cohen, owner of Ciopinot and La Esquina Taqueria, told The Tribune he plans to use an outdoor food court in his San Luis Obispo parking lot. It is in the process of changing the location of these two restaurants, which are located in The Creamery Marketplace.
For more information on the Open SLO program, visit www.openslo.org.
This story was originally published July 23, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.