Reader view: A hidden agenda with streateries?

I urge everyone to take a stroll through downtown Edmonds and take a real close look at the how the various streateries are built and fastened to the ground. Some look very temporary and easily removed. Others like this one are well mounted to the ground and have rather elaborate heating and lighting systems; looking like the long-term plan is pretty much for them to stay rather permanently.

Right now the request by the restaurants is to keep them at least through the summer of 2022, which sounds sort of reasonable on the face of it. But when I look at this installation (pictured) on Main just down and across from the soon to be open Edmonds Commons facility, I think there will be lots of pressure on the city council to make most of these facilities permanent along with a push to close the streets of downtown to turn the area into a European-style walking mall. There are, without doubt, strong forces (special interest groups) in town that want that to happen.

We have an opportunity this winter on Friday and Saturday afternoon and nights (prime dining-out times) to look into the brick-and-mortar part of these establishments and compare the patronage inside to the patronage outside. If both parts of the establishment are full, one would suspect that the outside structures are really padding their bottom line, rather than serving some sort of pandemic need to survive. On the other hand, if outside is full and and inside is basically empty, the streateries could actually be performing some sort of pandemic-related purpose. If the inside is full and the outside is empty, one could assume the business is doing OK and people just don’t want to be outside in the winter weather.

My takeaway from what I’m seeing right now is that the dining businesses want these things to become permanent and they will lobby council aggressively to make that happen. The entertainment element also wants to develop the walking mall park concept and they will lobby aggressively to make that happen. You will need to speak out some way to tell the mayor, staff and council what you want to see happen downtown in the long run. Will your voice be heard?

— By Clinton Wright, Edmonds

 

24 Replies to “Reader view: A hidden agenda with streateries?”

  1. Or, good engineering considering the winds we’ve been having lately.

    With Covid numbers rising again, there are good reasons to continue to be outside.

    I am not for permanently taking away parking on Main Street.

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  2. The restaurants gamed a pandemic to get more seating. MarKet (for example) only has outside seating, so the MarKet streatery isn’t related to protocols whatsoever in that the streatery seating is exactly like their previously zoned seating.

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      1. Chris, not that I can see. There are tables inside? It looks like just a kitchen inside. They got lots of extra capacity, 200% maybe now. I saw you with a group of people sitting for hours, outside Fire and Feast, no mask, no distancing, not eating for hours. It’s remarkable only because you’ve been a champion of the protocols.

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        1. MarKet had a few tables inside when they first opened. Those went away about the time their streatery opened.

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  3. I only eat outside right now, and am so glad to have these options this year rather than takeout. The restaurants had to remove quite a few tables for social distancing so the outside can help them make up for fewer tables. We are fortunate that we have these options-I know quite a few People who come to Edmonds because we have these and we have so many types of food choices. I go to downtown more than ever before now and I’ve lived here 26 years

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  4. I would rather eat outside. I love the outdoor seating. I think closing Main St at 5 or 6pm (when most retail shops close) to make it walkable for restaurants and entertainment is a great idea, I do not think closing it permanently is.

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  5. To me, if the streeteries are to become permanent, aesthetics become the main issue rather than COVID. A town center full of corrugated plastic and raw lumber will start to look ugly and inappropriate. After the main COVID threat passes, the rationale for strategies becomes expanded restaurant capacity, and the owners should be obliged to build more permanent and attractive structures in line with European style. Admittedly they will become seasonal, but will need to look less desolate during the winter months

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  6. I’m seeing restaurants packed inside, not socially distanced. It’s time to tear down the streateries and get back to business in downtown Edmonds. No business is more important than another, and the restaurants have benefited at the expense of their non-food neighbors. Let’s get rid of them, sooner rather than later, and let downtown Edmonds return to being a wonderful place for everyone, not just restauranteurs and their patrons.

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    1. I agree. The thing is we have in the county the highest rate of Covid. Why? Well think about it…I have looked I have driven and I have seen the lack of any kind of 6 ft distancing, in or out of restaurants. Streateries packed on some occasions barely masked. You can’t drink and eat thru a mask. So you have tiny little covid particles in areas all over going from one person to another in those and flowing out the open ( if there is one) area right into the faces of the pedestrians trying to get around them. They are difficult to drive around they are not all with in the boundry lines. I do not want a European Pavilion here at all… IF we had a large parking garage very very close to the fountain area maybe… BUT we won’t will we? I would be very curious to know of the people who want this open European feel are within walking distance…live near the bowl? I would also as a citizen like to know who this special interest group is that was referred to in this article. Don’t we as citizens have a right to know these things so we can engage with those for discussion etc. I doubt this is posted. But it should be.

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  7. My friends and I had the experience of eating outside, wearing multiple layers of clothes, and still freezing during the Covid lock down. You were lucky if you could sit by a heater. f you experienced that, you would definitely want to eat inside. Furthermore, it is very difficult to even drive down the street because it is so narrow with outdoor restaurants on both sides. As to parking, it is nearly impossible. I avoid downtown restaurants because of the parking problem. Inside, my friends and I go to restaurants where parking is available. When winter comes, it will very difficult to walk blocks to go to a restaurant. During the winter of Covid lock down, there were very few people eating outside. I would vote for removing the outside seating areas. But the idea of determining the difference in percentage of people eating inside and outside during fall, winter, and spring cold days will be a great thing to evaluate.

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  8. Aesthetics aside, if the city allows these shanties to continue, the structures should be sturdily-built and firmly anchored to city standards with steel hardware. Think global climate change. If these shacks blow apart, the flying debris (and corrugated roofs) will become deadly missiles. Does anyone else remember the Columbus Day Storm of 1962?

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  9. The current streateries are a blight and eyesore on our lovely town. I’ve seen better looking chicken coops. Surely, there’s a better solution. As much as I enjoy outside dining, the current structures are not the answer. Between the streateries and the blocked parking spaces for restaurant pick-up only, we have lost a lot of spaces.

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  10. I am not a huge a fan of the structures, but restaurants with larger capacities likely provide more jobs. But with everyone hiring that may not be a consideration. I agree with Mr. Cunliffe’s comment that at a minimum the structural aesthetics demand major improvement. They look terrible!

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  11. I responded to the survey. There was not an option for comment. There are so many outdoor structures on Main above 5th that it makes seeing the non-eating businesses difficult as well as a bit of a crowded mess to walk up the sidewalk to these establishments. If they are to remain for another year (I hope not permanent) perhaps the street could be limited to one common structure in which to eat takeout.

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  12. Our tax dollars pay for the streets and sidewalks. Would the restaurants like to refund us our tax dollars for the real estate they have taken from the taxpayers? Although if they did I think government would swallow that too and the people would never see it.
    Restaurants have all their tables back. They have full capacity inside so let’s stop beating this drum. Every business has and will continue to suffer today due to various measures.
    I applaud those who feel they need to take care of their health and stay out of restaurants. Good for you. Your health is your responsibility. I’m not being snide or sarcastic. We all need to do our homework and take measures to protect our own health and immunity. That’s our own jobs for ourselves.
    But it is not in the power of the government to take away something (in this case sidewalks and streets, and personal freedom) and give it to some businesses to the detriment of others.

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    1. Boy, is that right! We just returned from a two month road trip across the country. It’s a whole different world out there! Freedom and no shanties!

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      1. We just came home from Santa Barbara, streeteries were tents with beautiful lighting and plants that helped the aesthetics. Edmonds streeteries are a freaking eyesore as well as making parking challenging. SB streeteries also had valet parking, making it so much easier to enjoy the restaurant of choice.

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        1. The weather is significantly different in Santa Barbara so the return on investment for an outside dining structure make business sense. Edmonds restaurant owners erected them with the knowledge they were temporary. If we had the climate of Santa Barbara I am sure we would be looking at more upscale permanent structures ((that are taxed and permitted).

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    1. Mike, I walk to work, saw her maskless, walked to lunch (thru the same spot), walked back from lunch (still there). Creepy is when non-doctors, non-lawyers, non-policemen, non-judges take it upon themselves to interject their beliefs on others. If you preach the protocols, follow the protocols.

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  13. Sorry, Matt, I am non-impressed with your definition of creepy. As unbelievable as your explanation is for watching Chris, it does not excuse you for misrepresenting it. Contrary to what you said at first, you did not watch her for hours. You watched her intermittently while passing by over an extended period of time. The two comments are very different.

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