Los Angeles County Expands Outdoor Dining in Times of COVID-19

As California starts to rollback its reopening, cities are implementing emergency orders to reconfigure or close streets to allow restaurants to expand outdoors. I personally have seen a few restaurants expanding onto the sidewalk. But certain cities and neighborhoods are expanding out to the street. Santa Monica, Culver City, Burbank and Pasadena are some of the cities moving onto the street. The only place I have seen in the City of Los Angeles is in Larchmont Village (photo below). There might be other neighborhoods on the Westside, but I haven't seen them for myself yet.

Setting up for outdoor dining in Larchmont Village

Culver City seems to have the most ambitious plan with closing down Culver Blvd and adding dedicated right-of-ways for buses (they call it a trolley, but it's really just a bus) and bicycle lanes. UrbanizeLA does a write up about it here.

The second most ambitious plan seems to be in Burbank where they hard close San Fernando Blvd. from Magnolia to Angeleno.

As mentioned above, in the city of Los Angeles, the only place I have noticed where dining has expanded to the street is in Larchmont Village. Some private parking lots have been converted to outdoor dining like at Chapman Plaza in Koreatown.

As someone who believes we have given over too much of our public space to cars, this is exciting to see. The city of Los Angeles has an online application so restaurants can apply for al fresco dining. Phase 1 allows restaurants to convert sidewalks and private lots to dining areas.

Koreatown Chapman Plaza

Phase 2 is where restaurants can apply to convert street parking and lanes to dining areas.

And, personally, I think it's an added bonus if you live in walking distance to these restaurants that have converted to outdoor dining.

Hopefully it's an enjoyable walk to the restaurant, you get to dine outdoors

in the summer and have a nice stroll back.

I want to remain optimistic that we can reimagine our streets as more than just trying to move cars as quickly as possible. That our streets should not only be able to move cars, but people walking, biking and on transit. That our outdoor space can be enjoyed by people having coffee, dinner or just going for a nice stroll.

Photo from NBC Los Angeles of Burbank's al fresco dining

Photo from Patch.com

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