Café streets could be in place for another year

The café street and outdoor dining program could be extended for another year.

Councilmember Dan Strauss has introduced legislation to extend the free café street and outdoor dining permits through Jan. 31, 2023. The program allows restaurants and retail stores to utilize the streets in front of their businesses for outdoor dining and displays and has been in place since mid-2020.

The current café street pilot program is set to expire on May 31, 2022.

“Last year I took action to create a pathway to permanency for café streets after hearing from many small businesses about the program’s success,” Councilmember Strauss said in a statement about the legislation. “The pandemic has prompted us to use our outdoor spaces in new ways, and the addition of café streets across Seattle adds vibrancy to our neighborhoods while saving so many small businesses.”

Strauss’s long-term goal is to make the café street program permanent. He says the extension will give the mayor, city council, and SDOT time to create permanent guidelines for the program.

Strauss hopes that introducing the legislation four months before the pilot expires will allow businesses to stay open and utilize outdoor spaces as COVID-19 continues to be a challenge.

The extension legislation is expected to be considered by the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee on Feb. 1, with a final vote by the city council as soon as Feb. 8.

Help support My Ballard's independent local journalism