Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 15, 2020

Al fresco

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Giant. Outdoor. Dining Room.

Folks this is what Berkeley is planning to do in order to support its small businesses.  I think this could totally work in Alameda.  Maybe we don’t close off the main drags but some of the parking lots could accommodate an outdoor dining room for some of the local businesses.  Like this one across from the movie theater:


Or simply allow for the businesses not close to a city owned parking lot to take the parking spaces in front for parklets and outdoor seating.

But really, I’m not at all opposed to taking over the whole street if necessary, from Eater SF:

Speaking with Eater SF, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín says that the plan was inspired by news coverage of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, which announced last month that it would turn its plazas, streets, and squares into “a vast open-air cafe” to allow its bars and restaurants to serve patrons during the coronavirus crisis.

Photos of Vilnius sparked a similar idea in San Jose, where last week Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilwoman Dev Davis proposed “Al Fresco San Jose,” a program in which “businesses — particularly restaurants — could be allowed to take over parking lots, shut down parts of streets and siphon off areas of a public park for open-air services,” the San Jose Mercury News reports. Also last week, San Mateo’s city council “asked staff to come up with the specifics on a plan” to close two streets in the city for restaurant use, according to NBC Bay Area.

Unlike some proposals, which mention restaurant use of parklets, sidewalks, or parking spaces, the Berkeley plan — which Arreguín and Vice Mayor Sophie Hahn introduced today — would completely close city streets during restaurant operation hours, Arreguín says, allowing residents to again “go out, be safe, and still enjoy our local restaurants.”

We’re going to have to be a lot more creative about our uses of public spaces to support local businesses but also promote social distancing.  As long as people are feeling comfortable going out for meals and drinks this will be a good way to keep the needed space to avoid spreading the virus and keep our businesses in business.


  1. Excellent idea, especially for those who can walk several blocks. Eating with exercise. Perhaps the businesses can get together to provide a lift to those who cannot easily walk or roll a few blocks.

    Comment by 2wheelsmith — May 15, 2020 @ 4:04 pm

  2. Hey Lauren, this is “Merica”, if we want to eat out we will drive through McDonalds or in and out. aside from that, I’m all for closing down the main streets at dinner time and lets get out walk, eat, and enjoy life SAFELY!!!!!!!.

    Comment by trumpisnotmypresident — May 15, 2020 @ 5:41 pm

  3. Sounds great to me.

    One little add on: rotate the restaurants that can serve in the space to make things more fair. Otherwise the places in immediate proximity get a huge advantage

    Comment by dave — May 15, 2020 @ 7:42 pm

    • just tried my Buffalo Trace last night, very good, thanks for the recomendaton.

      Comment by trumpisnotmypresident — May 16, 2020 @ 9:26 am

  4. Similar to closing off a street between blocks weekly for a Farmer’s Market we could totally do this on a lot of streets at different times of the month, different times of the day. I wonder who we can encourage to explore this idea?

    Comment by anjo — May 16, 2020 @ 8:12 am

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