Sidewalk seating vs. parking in Lowertownby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — People who want to see more sidewalk cafes in downtown St. Paul will clash this week with those concerned about limited parking.
The City Council on Wednesday will consider whether to widen the sidewalk that runs in front of three popular Lowertown restaurants.
The proposal would allow Barrio, the Bulldog and the Bin Wine Bar to add more outdoor seating.
"It will bring more advocates of downtown living, and life and activity, and help bring more young people downtown," said Chuck Repke, a spokesman for the building owners, who support the proposal.
But widening the sidewalk would also eliminate six metered parking spots and add new parking restrictions on the other side of Sixth Street.
The chairman of Friends of Mears Park, John Mannillo, said that's a bad tradeoff.
"Sidewalk cafes would remove a right-of-way and give it to private use," he said.
The city's Heritage Preservation Commission also opposes widening the sidewalk, but the City Council has the final say.