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Kris
November 18th, 2003, 06:57 AM
The Department of City Planning has been reviewing the city’s policy towards sidewalk cafes in Manhattan. Currently, in many streets and neighborhoods in Manhattan, sidewalk cafes are not permitted. This study examines these locations and recommends allowing in some of these areas exclusively a new category of unenclosed sidewalk cafes - small sidewalk cafes.
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/sidewalkcafe/sidewalkcafe1.html

billyblancoNYC
November 18th, 2003, 09:23 AM
Excellent. More friendly policies towards restaurants, bars, and clubs simply add to NYC. It's one of the many reasons people live here. It just makes sense.

Kris
November 22nd, 2003, 07:13 PM
November 23, 2003

MANHATTAN UP CLOSE

'Oh, Garçon!' May Echo On More City Sidewalks

By DENNY LEE

Pray for no rain. If the city gets its way, sidewalk cafes may soon spring up along Madison Avenue, in most of Midtown and in other areas of Manhattan where outdoor tables have long been barred.

A proposal by the Department of City Planning to expand the parts of the city where sidewalk cafes are allowed would cover hundreds of Manhattan blocks, and would permit only a new, smaller type of cafe. While existing cafes can cover up to half a sidewalk, the mini-cafes would be limited to one row of tables, and could extend out no farther than four and a half feet. The measure would not affect the 700 bars and restaurants in other areas that currently have the larger sidewalk cafes.

Without quite saying so, the proposal embraces the Paris-fication of Manhattan. "They add character to the street and vibrancy to the neighborhood," said Rachaele Raynoff, a planning department spokeswoman. "What City Planning is looking to do is change the zoning text, not in every place, but in areas where the street life can be enlivened without distracting from pedestrian circulation."

Those areas, according to a preliminary map, include the entire length of Madison Avenue, from the Flatiron District to East Harlem, as well as a wide swath of Midtown bounded by 59th and 38th Streets and Third and Eighth Avenues. The sidewalks around Times Square, Herald Square and Grand Central Terminal would remain cafe-free.

The proposal would also allow mini-cafes in areas where sidewalk tables have operated illegally for years, including West Broadway in SoHo, Union Square and parts of St. Marks Place in the East Village. It would permit them as well along the central portions of 14th and 23rd Streets, and upper Park and Lexington Avenues.

Business groups are applauding the plan; community groups are reserving judgment.

"There's always opposition to sidewalk cafes," said John Rust, a member of Community Board 4, which covers Chelsea and Clinton. "No one wants a sidewalk cafe below their windows. And now there's the smoking issue. Smoke drifts upwards." (Under current regulations, 25 percent of sidewalk cafes can be reserved for smoking.)

The Planning Department is expected to submit the proposal next month, in hopes of adoption by spring. "I don't have any major concerns right now," said Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, who must review the plan before it reaches the City Planning Commission and the City Council. "It would also add jobs."

For some, the issue has less to do with Parisian charm than with neighborhood flavor.

"This is a place where the sophistication of the boutiques really matches the sophistication of the restaurants," said Matthew Bauer, president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District. "We would not object to sidewalk cafes, as long as they are in keeping with the look and feel here."


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

TLOZ Link5
November 22nd, 2003, 11:17 PM
This is a great opportunity to add to the already-rich streetlife of New York.

BigMac
May 1st, 2004, 10:09 AM
NY1 News
April 30, 2004

New Legislation Will Allow More Sidewalk Cafes In Manhattan

There may soon be more places to eat outside. The City Council is set to approve legislation which would expand the number of outdoor cafes just in time for the warm weather. NY1’s Michael Scotto has more in the following report.

City zoning laws have prevented the owner of Terramare on the Upper East Side from setting up a sidewalk cafe. But soon his patrons may be able to enjoy a meal outside.

“It will bring such a charm to the city and will be very helpful for the neighborhoods,” says owner Luigi Palazzo.

The City Council is set to pass new legislation that will allow small sidewalk cafes in areas of the city where they were previously prohibited. Those neighborhoods are in parts of SoHo, the Lower East Side, Midtown, and the Upper East Side.

“Smaller sidewalk – all sidewalk cafes, but especially smaller sidewalk cafes - will enliven the streets and make the city much more fun, not only for people who are eating in these restaurants, but also for people walking by,” says Amanda Burden, Chair of the City Planning Department.

Since 1979, there haven't been many changes to the law regulating outdoor cafes. But the City Planning Depatment decided it was time to allow more neighborhoods to enjoy outdoor eating.

Under the proposal, these new outdoor cafes will be permitted to extend only four and a half feet from the front of a restaurant. That space has to include three feet for waiters and customers to walk by, leaving roughly a foot and a half for a small, cafe style table, and eight feet of sidewalk for pedestrians.

“This really is a very good compromise worked out by the city to allow smaller sidewalk cafes and to still allow people to be able to walk on the property,” says Queens Councilwoman Melinda Katz.

Critics of the legislation aren't opposed to sidewalk cafes, but they fear four and a half feet isn't nearly enough room to set up tables.

“This is much too small of a space to accommodate four people, let alone even two people,” says Robert Bookman, a lawyer. “The standard table for two is 24 inches. The standard table for four is four feet.”

But some restaurants say they'll take what they can get.

“I think maybe it's a little too small, but it is better than nothing,” says Paola Pedrignani of Amaranth.

The full City Council is set to vote on Wednesday. If it's approved, restaurants will able to apply for a license right away.

- Michael Scotto

Copyright 2004 NY1 News

krulltime
August 2nd, 2004, 04:46 PM
AL FRESCO MOVES ON UP TO THE EAST SIDE


By STEPHANIE GASKELL
August 2, 2004 -- EXCLUSIVE

The city has issued its first outdoor-cafe permit on the Upper East Side — the beginning of a massive rezoning project aimed at transforming busy Manhattan streets into cozy, European-style sidewalks.

Terramare, a quaint Italian cafe on 65th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues, is the first restaurant to get the new permit to create a small al fresco dining space. The eatery landed its permit Wednesday — and has already put five tables on the sidewalk.

"It will bring a whole new atmosphere to the neighborhood," said Terramare's manager, Augustine Mota. "And it's not just about business. People really want to sit outside, especially in the summer."

Sidewalk cafes in previously established zones have been allowed to take up 8 feet of sidewalk space. But these new permits allow restaurants outside those zones — including many in Midtown — also to have a small outdoor dining area, as long as they don't occupy more than 41/2 feet of sidewalk space. Seventeen restaurant owners have already applied for a permit, Consumer Affairs said.

"A single row of tables and chairs would add character to the streetscape and vibrancy to neighborhoods," said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden. "They're fun, and everyone, diners and pedestrians, like them."

The rezoning plan was approved by the City Council in May. It allows small sidewalk cafes to operate on the busy streets for the first time since 1979.


Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

czsz
April 9th, 2006, 01:28 PM
Eh, before they jump to this, it may be wise to start looking at how to widen sidewalks (particularly on typically empty, cavernous avenues with many one way traffic lanes).

ablarc
April 9th, 2006, 01:35 PM
If you took one lane out of an avenue, you could widen both its sidewalks by six feet. That might have a negative effect on traffic flow, but you can solve that with a congestion charge. In fact with a congestion charge, could you take two lanes out of an avenue's roadway? That would give you Champs-Elysean sidewalks.

czsz
April 9th, 2006, 01:48 PM
I was just walking on Broadway and attempting to navigate the sidewalk was absurd. One wheelchaired man stopping for whatever reason can block the entire flow of pedestrians. I like the fact that the sidewalk has been colonised by street vendors on one side and street cafes on another, but it simply requires more space. It's not as if there's ever been a traffic backup on the six-lane (plus parking) street ...

In the last decade or so the Morningside Heights neighbourhood association has been really proactive about getting the city to replace weird asphalt traffic triangles with sidewalks and gardenlike plantings. Maybe sidewalk improvements can be their next initiative.

Ninjahedge
April 9th, 2006, 02:06 PM
They need to eliminate parking on all the main streets, and on any of the smaller cross-town streets. If they do this, it will help traffic flow.

They also need DESIGNATED CAB PICKUP AND DROP-OFF ZONES!!! Never-mind these guys stopping in the middle of an intersection to let someone off. You reserve a stretch along the middle of a street/avenue for the expressed purpose of cab loading/unloading you will see a better traffic flow.

That combined with no parking and you will see less DOUBLE parking and better flow.

As for the side streets. Some should just be closed off to vehicular traffic altogether. Many in the gentrified areas of SoHo and Tribecca do not NEED to be traveled on, and would be great to have as a pedestrian mall.

Hell, I loved CT when it closed its roads for China Fest!

But as for the Cafés? So long as they do not get over-possessive (there is one right here by work that has a full 8-10 feet to the buildings external column line. But now they are going 4' further. That combined with the Paranoia Planters on the curb, there is only about 6' of sidewalk (OK, maybe 8) out of a previously 20' wide span of pedestrian walkway!

czsz
April 9th, 2006, 02:10 PM
It seems, empirically, better not to proclaim access entirely verboten for cars, but rather to make it exceedingly painful and difficult for them to travel down a given street.

It wouldn't hurt to designate a few main avenues cab/bus only zones. Possibly Fifth or Broadway in Midtown; they can be made analogous to London's Oxford Street, where this has worked quite successfully.

ablarc
April 9th, 2006, 04:39 PM
They need to eliminate parking on all the main streets, and on any of the smaller cross-town streets. If they do this, it will help traffic flow.
With all due respect, Ninj, this a bad idea. Traffic circulation in a city should be slow and difficult. When you design a street for auto circulation it becomes a road. Cars whizzing by at 40mph are both dangerous and noxious. That buffer of parked cars goes a long way to making a pedestrian on the sidewalk feel and be secure.

What's true for suburbs is rarely true for cities; they are completely different animals. Nobody wants to sit on the sidewalk sipping a drink with cars whizzing by and no buffer of cars between.

For a picture of how to do it right, consult the Via Veneto.

Invictus
April 10th, 2006, 01:06 AM
Eh, before they jump to this, it may be wise to start looking at how to widen sidewalks (particularly on typically empty, cavernous avenues with many one way traffic lanes).
You really hit the nail on the head with what I was going to reply to this thread.

Ninjahedge
April 10th, 2006, 09:58 AM
With all due respect, Ninj, this a bad idea. Traffic circulation in a city should be slow and difficult. When you design a street for auto circulation it becomes a road. Cars whizzing by at 40mph are both dangerous and noxious. That buffer of parked cars goes a long way to making a pedestrian on the sidewalk feel and be secure.

What's true for suburbs is rarely true for cities; they are completely different animals. Nobody wants to sit on the sidewalk sipping a drink with cars whizzing by and no buffer of cars between.

For a picture of how to do it right, consult the Via Veneto.

And where will they be zipping to?

I hate to tell you,, but those parked cars do not slow anyone down. Cabs still whiz by at 40 MPH down the crossroads. They have had to put hump/bumps in the streets in the West village to get them to slow down!

You need a traffic pattern that will get people going, and keep them going.

(I still laugh at the cabbies that tromp on the gas on the avenues at a green light! The lights are timed for the speed limit, you go too fast, you end up hitting each light before it turns green!!).

What I am getting at is that you will not have so many people cutting in and out to avoid the double parked vehicles dropping off deliveries, or passengers. If you make it illegal to park on one side, you will still get illegal stop/stand people, but it won't be 2 rows.......

As for people safety... That is also difficult in that if the sidewalks had more room, that would be less of an issue. I can see where you are coming from, but still.....

pianoman11686
July 6th, 2006, 09:24 PM
It looks like some of the aforementioned sidewalk improvements will soon start taking place in Herald Square. From http://cityrealty.com/new_developments:

Sidewalk expansions planned in Herald Square 06-JUL-06

The Department of Transportation last night presented its proposals to improve pedestrian spaces in Herald Square transportation committee of Community Board 5.
Margaret Forgione, the department’s Manhattan head, said that it planned to begin construction in 2008 and John Mills, the chairman of the committee, said that the plans were “really needed” because the area is “very crowded,” a condition that will only be exacerbated by new construction in the area.

The plan would widen the sidewalk in front of Macy’s on the west side of Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets and switch the existing bus stop and taxi-stands on the block. The sidewalk would be widened 9 feet at 34th Street and by about 15 feet at 35th Street. The Herald Square park across Broadway from Macy’s would be extended 9 feet at 34th Street and 5 feet at 35th Street.

George Haikalis, a member of the committee, noted that over the years there have been many plans to improve automobile traffic at Herald Square, where Broadway and the Avenue of the Americas intersect, but that more attention should be given to pedestrians. Community Board 5, which includes not only Herald Square but also Times Square, has the city’s highest concentrations of pedestrians, he said, suggesting that Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets should be closed to automobile traffic.

Another member of the committee remarked that widening sidewalks may simply give street vendors more space especially on the 32nd to 33rd Street blocks.

Discussion also centered on the inconvenience for many transit riders of having to walk an extra block or so laden down with packages.

The committee passed a resolution by a vote of 5 to 1 to support the Department of Transportation plan, whose pedestrian improvements are shown in green in the map at the right.

http://www.cityrealty.com/graphics/uploads/1152221243_heraldsqtrf.gif

Ninjahedge
July 7th, 2006, 08:48 AM
Widen the sidewalks, FORBID parking on any of these streets and within 50 feet or more of a corner, and GET RID OF THOSE STREET VENDORS!

Especially the ones that are selling pirated goods. (You don't see the RIAA reps in times square yelling at them for ruining the "artists work" now do you?)