The Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced the approval of eleven Street Seats locations for 2014, including three new installations. For the first time, all Street Seats will be smoke-free, a change made in response to public comments received during the application process this spring.
Now in its third year, Street Seats is a program of the Portland Bureau of Transportation that allows businesses and non-profit organizations to convert on-street parking into other public uses, such as café seating or a mini-park. Based on similar programs in San Francisco and New York City, the program enlivens the streetscape by creating spaces for Portlanders to enjoy seating and a meal or drink outdoors, which in turn enhances street vitality and benefits local businesses.
Street Seats began with a pilot project in 2012 that was followed by an ongoing program in 2013. Each business or participating organization pays a permit fee plus the replacement value of parking revenue, if the installation is in a district with parking meters.
The three new locations approved for construction are:
SoMa Ecodistrict at SW 4th Avenue and Hall Street, Bonfire Lounge at 2821 SE Stark Street and Lompoc Brewing at 1620 NW 23rd Street. Seating can be installed as early as June although the exact date will be determined by the permit holder.
Returning locations are:
The Analog Café at 720 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Bartini/Urban Fondue at 2108-2118 NW Glisan Street, Enzo's Caffe Italiano at 2529 NE Alberta Street, Mississippi Pizza 3552 N Mississippi Avenue, Oven & Shaker 1134 NW Everett Street, The Portland Bottle Shop 7960 SE 13th Avenue and Songbird Café at 6839 SE Belmont Street.
The returning Street Seats are approved for year-round use, although Oven & Shaker and Bartini/Urban Fondue have chosen to operate their Street Seats during the warm weather months only.
In addition to the approved locations, PBOT’s review committee denied three applicants and has invited the remaining four applicants to modify their designs. All submissions were evaluated on design quality and the suitability of the location, with a priority given to any design that provided seating to the general public. In addition, each proposal had to demonstrate support from the community.
While public support for the overall program has been positive, PBOT has received and is responding to public concerns about second hand smoke and sidewalk crowding. In addition to requiring that all locations be smoke-free, PBOT also is requiring new installations to leave a minimum width of eight feet of the sidewalk clear for pedestrians. Permit holders also are required to submit operations plans to ensure the upkeep and cleanliness of the Street Seats.
Photo: City of Portland