Burlingame have started serving diners outdoors on July 11th, under a decision by officials to open up downtown streets to eateries still reeling from the COVID-19 shutdown.
The cities join San Mateo, San Carlos and Redwood City in the effort to convert spaces previously reserved for foot and car traffic into outdoor enclaves where diners can patronize their favorite restaurants.
The Burlingame City Council unanimously agreed to close off Burlingame Avenue to cars and reserve that space for diners and pedestrians during a meeting on Tuesday, June 10.
The Millbrae City Council took no action during a meeting the same night, but councilmembers supported a proposal to block off portions of sidewalks for restaurants to serve patrons.
“I think it’s a great initiative,” said Councilman Michael Brownrigg, regarding the city’s plan to block off car traffic along Burlingame Avenue from El Camino Real to California Drive from Friday through Sunday for the next month.
Starting July 11th weekend, restaurants will be able to use a portion of the sidewalk plus a parking lane to set up tables and serve diners. The middle of the street and the sidewalk would be open to pedestrians, according to the proposed plan.
The pilot program is intended to span four weeks, and can be amended or extended.
Many residents and merchants expressed their support for the trial program, suggesting it could revitalize the once vibrant shopping district which has struggled in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.
“We all share the hope we don’t lose any businesses and that our actions today will in fact help most of them remain,” said resident Peter Comaroto.
Downtown business improvement district members polled prior to the meeting showed support for the proposal as well, and some asked for the shutdown to span longer than just the weekend.
Not all were onboard with the measure though, suggesting they feared the loss of parking could be detrimental to some downtown businesses — particularly retailers.
Men’s clothing retailer Sam Malouf questioned whether dedicating potential parking spaces could harm the other downtown businesses which would not benefit the same way restaurants might.