Another city might close streets to let restaurants have tables outside

Restaurant patrons dine on Stone Street in Manhattan. AP file photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Redwood City is considering the idea of closing off sidewalks and streets in order to let restaurants re-open once that’s allowed.

City Manager Melissa Stevenson-Diaz said during last night’s (May 18) council meeting that her employees are looking at ways to let restaurants and other retail use sidewalks, parking and streets to allow for outdoor retail and dining.

This comes a week after Menlo Park and San Carlos city councils decided to pursue similar ideas.

Nearly all Redwood City council members expressed interest in ways to help businesses, and in particular, restaurants, stay afloat.

Councilwoman Giselle Hale said that Milagros is closed while the restaurant retools its business model in light of COVID-19.

“Seeing a business that savvy saying it needs to pivot makes me worried,” Hale said.

Hale said that the city needs to move with “as much urgency” as the restaurants are feeling.

Hale, along with councilman Ian Bain, said that they want a proposal before the council sooner rather than later in order to help out businesses as soon as the county allows for restaurants to re-open their dining rooms.

Bain said he wants to be sure that Stevenson-Diaz’s team is not just focusing on downtown businesses, but also shopping centers such as Woodside Plaza get help on outdoor operations from the city.

Mayor Diane Howard said that it is her understanding that city employees are working expeditiously in order to bring such a proposal to the council.

Stevenson-Diaz also said that she has gotten good feedback regarding the city’s “slow streets” program that was implemented earlier this month on nine streets around town. In fact, residents on Cleveland and Elwood streets, which are bisected by McKinley Middle School, and Buena Vista Avenue, which is near the city’s border with Atherton.

In an email that was read to the council, Farm Hill Boulevard area resident Johanna Rasmussen said she conducted a poll in her neighborhood, and of the 84 who responded, over half were in favor of a street in their neighborhood being designated as a “slow street.”