Beginning June 1, the City of Buffalo will allow restaurateurs to apply (free application process) for additional sidewalk space in front of their buildings to conduct business. The owners will also be able to apply for additional patio seating in parking spaces, which is something that we’ve been pushing for for years – similar to the patio extension seen in the lead image, found in Hamilton, Ontario. The project, called “Reopen Buffalo,” will allow customers to social distance, which will help businesses fill more seats. These incentivized accommodations are not in place for restaurants to throw giant parties – they are designed to help restaurants stay in business. Let’s not blow it – this is an opportunity that should not be squandered.
A Working Group has been formed to develop this expedited, pro-business initiative that is in place to help those who are struggling financially with the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Working Group, Chaired by Delaware District Councilmember Joel Feroleto, will develop the City’s application for small businesses wishing to use outdoor spaces this summer to promote social distancing.
Mayor Brown said, “I want to thank all of the members of the community who have stepped up to work with the City of Buffalo as we assemble an application and guidance that small business and restaurant owners across the City will use to promote public health while also maximizing their ability to serve their guests and keep their staffs safe. This is a model of the type of public-private cooperation that will ensure Buffalo emerges from this emergency quickly, safely and effectively.”
A recent urban design article in Treehugger discussed opportunities similar to what we’re seeing here.
Delaware District Councilmember Joel Feroleto said, “This is a positive first step that will help the City quickly and effectively allow restaurants and other small businesses take advantage of open spaces to implement their social distancing plans for when they are able to seat patrons again.”
This is also one of those silver linings that might just turn to gold for Buffalo’s traffic calming advocates, which is an added bonus.
The Working Group members are:
- Councilmember Joel Feroleto, Chair
- Nick Pitillo, Restaurant Owner
- Fred Daniel, Restaurant Owner
- Danielle Winiarski, Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
- Tom Lombardo, Restaurant Owner
- Tommy Cowan, Restaurant Owner
- Justin Booth, GObike Buffalo
- Curtis McCutchin, Restaurant Owner
- Charlie Goldman, Restaurant Owner
- Kelly Dixon, Greater Buffalo Niagara Region Transportation Council
- Steve Carmina, Architect and Design Expert
- Greg Herzog, Restaurant Owner
- Haritta West, Restaurant Owner
- John Glavey, Restaurant Owner
- Jeff Ware, Restaurant Owner
- Melissa and Jovino Morales, Restaurant Owners
- Jay Manno, Restaurant Owner
- Mike Telescco, Marketing Specialist
- Rob Free, New York State Restaurant Association
- Kevin and Stephanie Lin, Restaurant Owner
- Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning
- Commissioner Michael Finn, Department of Public Works
- Commissioner James Comerford, Department of Permits and Inspections
- Commissioner Kevin Helfer, Department of Parking
- Commissioner Byron Lockwood, Buffalo Police Department
- Commissioner William Renaldo, Buffalo Fire Department
- Robert Mayer, Director of Policy
“We congratulate the City of Buffalo’s creative approach to reallocating available curbside and public right-of-way space to support small businesses and restaurants with the introduction of their Reopen Buffalo program.” – GObike Buffalo
The City of Buffalo will accept applications on a rolling basis through September 30. The application will be available on June 1st on the City’s website. These will be temporary permits that will allow businesses to kick it into gear this summer, as Phase 3 allows. It looks as if the earliest a restaurant might be able to open (with limited seating and most like no bar seating) is June 16, but that is simply a target date that could change.
Hopefully this Working Group will stick together for years to come. A committee like this, with numerous restaurateurs at the helm, will finally give a collective voice to the industry that could use a good kick in the butt when it comes to the “dos and don’ts” (and the exorbitant fees) attached to the city’s patio scene.
Update: Business owners can click here to fill out an application for an extended sidewalk or parking spot presence.