Greenport proposal would replace some parking with outdoor restaurant, retail space
One of the East End's most popular villages is now set to follow Nassau in taking bold steps to help local restaurants bounce back.
In Greenport, a proposal would take away some downtown parking spaces, essentially extending the sidewalk into the street for outdoor dining space.
One idea proposes using temporary platforms that would act like sidewalks. A less expensive idea is to put barriers to separate the area from traffic.
The goal is to space out crowds while giving restaurants and others retailers room to serve food or sell goods outside.
"One of the things we need to do is cut down on the crowding so that we have enough room on the widened sidewalk for people to safely walk, and at the same time provide some space for our merchants," says Dave Kapell, of the area's business improvement district.
Some shops are already able to sell items in front of their stores because they have wide enough sidewalks. But many cannot do that because the sidewalks are too narrow.
"The idea is simple. We've got a parking lane here that's 8 feet wide," says Kapell. "If you get rid of the cars, you can turn that into pedestrian space. That frees up space in front of the stores so the merchants can spread out outside."
This weekend, the village is going to do a trial run by putting construction barrels and yellow tape to block off spaces.
The more permanent idea that would be put in place until the fall needs approval from the state Department of Transportation -- because Main Street is Route 25, a state road.