Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday May 2, 2016
Get ready for ‘pop-up’ patios on Hamilton’s streets this summer
Are Hamilton’s commercial areas ready for “pop-up” patios on parking lots?
Hamilton politicians approved a motion at their April 27 council meeting requesting staff to examine a pilot program that would allow local businesses or BIAs to establish temporary, seasonal patios and seating areas using on-street parking spaces. The program would begin in 2016.
“This is very innovative and non-expensive for the taxpayer,” said Mountain councillor Donna Skelly who supported the idea.
She said after the reconstruction of Concession Street last year, there are some businesses which would benefit from the extra business by allowing outdoor patios on the street.
“This is an opportunity for Concession Street,” said Skelly.
Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead also supported the motion, introduced by Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green. But he wanted to allow patios for commercial areas that are not in a BIA. Whitehead also insisted that business owners who want to establish patios on the street have the proper insurance.
After some squabbling among councillors, Whitehead’s amendment was approved by council.
Although no councillor opposed the idea, staff will examine if having a patio on the street will impede traffic, impact parking revenues and pose a safety issue.
BIAs that could look at the idea includes Stoney Creek, Concession Street, Ottawa Street, Lock Street, Waterdown, and Ancaster.
So-called “pop-up” patios have proved popular in New York City, Toronto, Orillia, and St. Catharines, where that city’s council approved it in 2012. A fee of $300 is charged to the business to cover the cost of parking.
These patios can’t serve liquor because of liquor laws involving public sidewalks, and businesses are not allowed to brand the place.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger said the motion is another step to increase the “vitality” to Hamilton’s streets. Another barrier that restaurants have that council should consider lifting is the city has banned music being played in patios. He compared the patio music bylaw to the city’s ban on tobogganing. Council this winter season allowed tobogganing in certain areas of the city for the first time. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)