To support businesses along Washington Street, Mayor Harry W. Rilling authorized the installation of concrete barriers along the south side of the street to allow the full use of the sidewalk for outdoor dining and retail for the 2020 Spring/Summer season. This will more than double the outdoor dining and retail space available for businesses. Washington Street will remain open to two-way traffic, but by blocking off parking spaces on the south side, businesses now will be able to use the entire sidewalk for outdoor dining or retail. A pedestrian walkway will be available between the sidewalk and concrete barriers.
The installation will start on Thursday, May 21, 2020, so restaurants can grow into the expanded sidewalk space in time for the Memorial Day Weekend. Washington Street will only be open to local traffic and emergency vehicles while the concrete barriers are being installed beginning at approximately 8 a.m. tomorrow.
“My team and I have been working around the clock to explore new ways to maximize the space available to businesses. We are always looking for ways to support our local businesses while at the same time ensuring the health and safety of the public. This plan achieves both of those goals by greatly expanding the available outdoor space while preserving access for emergency vehicles,” Mayor Rilling said. “I appreciate the feedback we’ve received from these businesses, and the hard work of City staff for executing the plan. We’ll continue to look to do creative things like this all around Norwalk to help our local businesses.”
The concrete barriers will be installed along the south side of Washington Street, which is the right side of Washington Street, driving towards the water, after passing under the railroad tracks between North and South Main Streets. On the north side of Washington Street, all of the parking spots will be free 15-minute parking to further support businesses along the street. City officials will continue to work with these businesses to maximize available space.
The City is not able to close Washington Street completely, or make it one-way traffic, due to safety concerns and the duration of the expanded outdoor dining and retail areas. Fire apparatus need to use Washington Street to reach the buildings, as access is limited from other areas. Norwalk Transit District buses will be re-routed for the summer down Hanford Place.
Businesses on the south side of Washington Street that wish to use the expanded sidewalk space will need to submit revised outdoor dining and patio plans to Planning and Zoning before additional tables are permitted. Updated plans can be submitted to Bryan Baker at BBaker@norwalkct.org. Setbacks will still be required for fire hydrants, but not for trees and other sidewalk obstructions.
Businesses must obtain an outdoor dining or outdoor retail permit. The streamlined application, Frequently Asked Questions, and more information can be found at norwalkct.org/covid19businessresources.