“Evenings” Continues & Study of Park Lane Future Approved
In 2022, “Evenings on Park Lane” resumed on May 26 with closure to vehicular traffic on the west end of Park Lane between Lake Street and Main Street every evening from 6 p.m. to approximately 11 p.m. In coordination with the downtown community, the City started "Evenings on Park Lane" in 2019, opening the street to people walking and wheeling only during evening hours. The program continued as a valuable support for businesses, restaurants, residents and visitors providing outdoor space for restaurant seating and retail and room for greater social distancing for pedestrians during pandemic times. The 2022 “Evenings” initiative did not permit ‘Parklets’ and ‘Streateries’ to allow tables and stalls to be set up in parking spaces in the right of way. ‘Parklets’ and ‘Streateries’ were permitted under the City Manager’s COVID 19 emergency order in 2021 ['Evenings on Park Lane' Press Release].
At its August 3 meeting, the City Council received a request from staff to consider options for the future of Park Lane either as a) an open street with parking or b) a street closed seasonally or permanently to vehicle traffic. The Council gave direction to evaluate Park Lane as a street closed seasonally or permanently to vehicle traffic, and authorized “Option 2” as presented to them in the Memo and reprinted here:
Option 2: Evaluate seasonal or full closure of Park Lane with a final decision in 2023.
Authorize staff to hire a consultant to identify investments necessary to close Park Lane to vehicle traffic and successfully activate a pedestrian retail, service, and dining area in the downtown core. Closure options evaluated would be full yearround closure or a full seasonal closure such as from May to October. Staff estimates the cost of this assessment to be up to $50,000 and would include at least the following considerations:
- Parking mitigation options and strategies if applicable.
- Programming and street activation recommendations, including during winter months if applicable.
- Infrastructure recommendations and requirements, including but not limited to shelter, seating, parklets, vehicle access and barriers.
- Public safety considerations and planning.
- Preliminary cost and budget plan for capital and ongoing expense
As directed by Council at the August 3 meeting, staff returned to Council at on October 18 with a fiscal note authorizing funding from the Council Special Projects Reserve to fund the assessment. While the original proposed budget for the study was $50,000, Council directed staff to consider a larger budget should market research indicate the need, and the fiscal note approved at the October 18 meeting to fund the study that was for $75,000.
A Request for Proposals for a consultant to conduct a Future of Park Lane Study was issues on October 3, 2022 and closed on October 31, 2022.