Community News

The city plans to close part of Commercial Ave in the downtown business district to car traffic in order to allow restaurants and retailers to expand into the street. 

The city has been toying with the idea for awhile now and city Planning Director Don Measamer brought a formal proposal to the City Council on Monday night. 

City Council members endorsed the proposal and asked Measamer to fill out some of the specifics. 

The proposal is similar to past one-day Open Street events.

The city administration’s proposal that the Council discussed can be found here.

During the discussion, Council members indicated they’d like to see Commercial Ave closed to traffic from 10th St. to 2nd St from Friday, July 17 @ 5pm to the next night at 10pm. That means the street would be opened for expanded retail, dining and walking and biking all day Saturday.

Ahead of Monday’s Council meeting, two businesses submitted comments.

The owners of Pelican Bay Books, Eli Barrett and Brooklynd Johnson, said, “It is not an understatement to say we were thrilled by the idea.”

Elizabeth Freeland, owner of Elizabeth’s By the Sea, said “We have many elderly customers that shop our bead store and not being able to park close would be detrimental to them and to us. “

The city considers this move temporary and an experiment and the Mayor and Council will review public reaction afterwards. 

Under the plan, restaurants would be able to move tables and seating into the street and serve customers there while maintaining strict six-foot social distancing.

Restaurants will also be able to use parklets, small raised platforms approximately the size of a parking space or two throughout the summer, whether or not the street closure continues every weekend. 

I published a story on a 2014 proposal to add parklets or mini-parks. You can find that story here.

Final decision by the City Council is expected next Monday.