The fate of the streateries, put in place for “COVID safety and restaurant survival,” has yet to be decided.
I can attest that the strong advocacy for extending their sunset date is a mismatch for the empty streateries I’ve seen since the weather turned, passing them, as I do, up to three times a day. Often the same places with empty streateries have empty sidewalk dining too!
A few streateries are busy. By my count, three or four of the 17.
The sales tax numbers tell us it’s no longer about restaurant survival. Or even about COVID safety, with so much empty sidewalk and patio seating unused. The streateries merely expand that business’s service and profit opportunity and the public’s outdoor dining options. I disdain neither profit nor choice, but at this time of possible continuance on that basis instead of the original, there has to be a fee that levels the playing field between the financial beneficiary of the streatery and those renting their outdoor spaces from a landlord. And the fee needs to be used in a way that benefits the public making their right-of-way available― and the businesses sacrificing their supportive parking to make it happen.
Maybe a solution that deals with equity to all businesses, and leaves only the streateries with high utilization in place, would be a solution we could live with (safety, full code compliance and neutralizing the climate impacts assumed)…. We still have “function over form” at play at our house, thanks to COVID; as a community, can we accept a ding to our downtown charm a bit longer too?
Or maybe we let them go for the moment.
I ran for office promising to use the wisdom, perspective and experience of the people to inform my decisions and to create policy that reflects that.
It is a promise to be open. And I am hearing you, next generation, and thank you for weighing in. The discussion on extending the “COVID-safety and restaurant survival” streateries has revealed a significant population that loves the engagement they experienced because of them. Engagement that did not exist to the same extent without and that they don’t want to give up.
Personally, I miss our former downtown. The sightlines to store windows and signage, and to the Sound and trees. A beautiful place! And a happy business community; one carefully cultivated with the right balance of restaurants, bars, retail, art, coffee shops and books….
Let’s plan a town hall about downtown in the coming year. To listen…. Not for the opposition to what you want, but for what others like about their choice. If we all focus on the things most valued, the plan that meets them all will reveal itself. With the public and stakeholders working as a team, we will figure out how to build the more engaged street many desire, while maintaining that most valued in our pre-COVID downtown.
We just may end up with an Edmonds we all cherish more than ever.
Edmonds City Council