New York City wants to help you improve the design and rules of outdoor dining

Approximately 12000 restaurants Share so far in the city Restaurants open Program, a sub-initiative of open streets Program that allows restaurants and bars to use street space for outdoor dining structures. While most New Yorkers seem to have embraced the changes in the urban landscape with open arms –single scan It found that two-thirds of New Yorkers believe the city “was right to close its streets to cars and open them to pedestrians and restaurants” – many believing there is still much room for improvement. And with Open Streets and its diverse offshoots set to become permanent parts of New York City’s landscape, the city is working on just that.

The Department of Town Planning (DCP) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced this week that they have launched a public engagement process to improve designs and rules for permanent outdoor dining.

“Open restaurants have not only helped rescue the world-famous restaurant industry in New York, but have also shown how we can dynamically reimagine our streetscape,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Guttman. “Developing design guidelines will ensure that this emergency program can be turned into a permanent part of our city, stabilizing restaurants in our communities so that this program continues to thrive.”

While restaurants open were enacted by emergency executive order by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic – the mayor He said That the program has helped create about 100,000 jobs—the city and legislature are now engaged in the more complex task of making them permanent. This includes modifying the text of the division of many restaurants Favor (Currently under public review) Removes geographic restrictions on the location of sidewalk cafes.

That’s where the public’s input will come in trying to determine how best to “integrate these new settings into the complex environment of New York City’s streets,” in the words of the Department of Transportation. This entry will come via personal and remote roundtables over the next six months – the schedule of those events will be listed in DOT . web page and on NYC Engageculminating in the release of new design guidelines by spring 2022.

“The success of this program should encourage us to continue to explore and expand initiatives that will help New Yorkers take back their streets,” said council member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Transportation Committee. “Through this public engagement process, I hope we can continue to discuss how we can improve the open restaurant program.” We have to make sure that we do the necessary outreach to small businesses located in the outer boroughs.”

Read more: How will the next NYC mayor improve the Open Streets program?

There is of course already A set of rules in place For outdoor dining – there must be a clear pedestrian path to walk on, no structures can be installed or excavated in the sidewalk, no structure can cover or touch a tree, you cannot block fire hydrants or street signs, etc. Some locals complained about exoskeletons affecting quality of life issues around their neighborhoods, and the DOT says the new regulations will include more rules and a new enforcement fund.

Among the primary areas the city is looking for in feedback is how to better promote safe interactions between diners, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. They also want to increase ADA compliance and increase the number of platforms and ramps.

They’re also looking to improve on the types of structures allowed—currently, the bungalows there can span a wide variety of styles, incorporate a variety of design elements, and feature unsafe additions like “roof tops,” some of which are ugly to the eye. . looks at some of Award-Winning Outdoor Dining Structures It could be a path towards creating a more uniform or standard look for them.

Ultimately, it’s about finding a balance of rules that will be “unifying, sustainable and transformative” for city streets, says Andrew Reggie, CEO of NYC Hospitality Alliance. Because that’s not something anyone in the industry wants to lose: “I know from the restaurant’s perspective that it’s extraordinarily popular and very important,” he told Gothamist. “And the measure from people eating outdoors across the five boroughs, it’s very common.”

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