The city is working on loosening rules around streateries and sidewalk cafes, and they’re asking for public feedback on their plans.
The Seattle Department of Transportation is proposing sidewalk cafe code amendments, with the following goals in mind:
- Allowing cafes in more places, by removing restrictions that limit outdoor seating and giving businesses the opportunity to extend beyond the business frontage where possible.
- Formalizing successful pilot programs for streateries and fence-free sidewalk cafes. Streateries are defined as small spaces constructed in the curb space, typically where cars park or unload goods — Ballard’s Bramling Cross is one example. The pilot program for fence-free sidewalk cafes would also be formalized, allowing more cafes to create a more open-air experience.
- Fix pedestrian mobility standards by loosening restrictions over pedestrian right-of-way. Currently, the city code requires a 3- to 4-foot wide unobstructed path along the entire block face. SDOT is instead proposing a 3-foot-wide “‘pedestrian straight path’ adjacent to and extending 25 feet on either end of the café, taking into account the immediate sidewalk context and maintaining the clear ‘pedestrian straight path’ adjacent to the café.” For more details, visit this fact sheet.
The city is requesting public feedback on the Determination of Non-Significance and proposed changes. They’ll accept comments through Monday, April 22 at 5pm via email (email@example.com), phone (206-684-5268), or mail (Seattle Department of Transportation, Street Use – Public Space Management, P.O. Box 34996, Seattle, WA 98124-4996).
Photo from Bramling Cross’ Facebook page