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Walnut Creek Magazine

Summer’s Hottest Destination: City Streets

Jun 17, 2020 02:03PM ● By Pam Kessler
Crisis precipitates change. The coronavirus pandemic has redefined urban space as we know it, opening the door to new ideas and transformations that only a short time ago, we could not have dreamed possible. Cities across the country are converting sidewalks, streets, and parking spaces into public places to eat, shop, and socialize. Not only do these initiatives inspire residents to support local businesses and dining destinations, but they also turn city streets into more livable places for people.

Last week as part of its Rebound effort, the City of Walnut Creek launched a popup program that allows restaurants to build outdoor dining areas in parking spaces on city streets. Plenty of restaurants on Locust Street are already taking advantage of the loosened regulations—jumping at the chance to increase revenue and space for social distancing—and in many cases, finding creative ways to move their operations outside. 

Assistant City Manager Teri Killgore says applications are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis, with restaurant access to 20 public parking spaces approved so far. The city is also considering closures on Cypress, Bonanza, and Lincoln for additional outdoor hangout space, but traffic and safety issues are still being worked out. Other cities like Berkeley are working on open-air designs that transform city streets into block-long dining rooms, and as Eater reports, the trend is happening around the world. Masks, sunscreen, and kindness required. 

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