Eating on the street

This makes a lot of sense.

Main Street bar owners are expected to take to the streets now that the city has given them the OK.

City Council on Wednesday approved, after some delay, plans for the More Space Main Street program which would close the road to automobiles and allow bars and restaurants to create outdoor seating spaces in the street.

If all goes well, revelers willing to head out could celebrate some Christmas cheer on the road.

“I’m very hopeful we could be up and running for the holiday season,” said Scott Repass, owner of Little Dipper, a bar along Main, and a champion of the proposal to allow outdoor spaces.

The program, which city officials approved as a pilot until March 2022, includes possibly closing Main downtown from Commerce to Rusk, depending on which businesses seek to participate. Rules and regulations for the areas bars and restaurants could carve out on the street are being developed by officials across several city departments, including planning, public works, police, fire and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Barriers would be placed to close Main Street off to traffic, while allowing cross streets to continue for vehicle use.


Aimed at helping the bars and restaurants weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the plan to close Main builds on the More Space program Houston’s planning department created to allow restaurants to use their parking lots to provide al fresco dining.

Main Street establishments do not have parking spaces, so business owners and the Houston Downtown Management District pushed to use the street.

“We had about 15 businesses that expressed a strong interest in taking part as soon as they are able,” said Angie Bertinot, director of marketing for the downtown district.

See here for more about the dining-in-parking-lots plan. Main Street already has limited vehicular traffic – it’s one lane each way, you can’t make left turns, and it’s already got a couple of blocks closed off at Main Street Square. Houston can support some form of outdoor dining pretty much all year – you need shade in the summer, and portable heaters at times in the winter, but it’s almost never too cold to be outside, and that’s the key. We’re doing this now out of COVID necessity, but we should have done this a long time ago because it’s a good idea. The Press has more.

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6 Responses to Eating on the street

  1. David Fagan says:

    Meanwhile in other news, there wasn’t enough fire fighters on staff to assist in a fatal car accident this weekend within appropriate time.

    If anyone finds themselves in this situation they should sue the city.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    I believe the city has governmental immunity. However, I am not sure.

  3. Ross says:

    David, the City has no obligation to respond in a timely manner to accidents or police incidents. The Supreme Court established that years ago.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    I wonder what David thinks about denizens of the county, or worse, folks in rural counties. They somehow live with the risk of not having a fire station/ambulance crew within 5 miles of their houses. How do they survive, those suburban and rural folks?

    David, the firefighters are no different than HISD. When revenues are down because of a bad economy, maybe we want a Cadillac fire department, fully trained and staffed, but we have to accept that we can only afford a late model used Impala fire department.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    I agree with both Paul and Ross here, for what it’s worth.

  6. David Fagan says:

    It’s a given I’m not a lawyer, but I would hope people would focus on the first part of the statement, “If you find yourself in this situation”. I fully realize, as I hope everyone commenting should, that being in a life threatening emergency without the assistance you expect is much more possible in this city than suing the city and holding it responsible to national standards.

    Just remember that if anyone is in an emergency requiring these services, you have the right to look up the reports associated and figure out where apparatus should have been available to you, but were not.

    Let’s hope you never have to remember this.

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