A debate about parklets that started this summer ended this morning — at least for the foreseeable future — when members of the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Advisory Commission voted against supporting parklets in the business district.
Parking commissioners were joined by David Roseman, the city’s traffic engineer, as well as several Shore business owners and area residents to talk about whether or not parklets, or sidewalk extensions, could be a viable option for business owners to install in front of their restaurants or shops.
The discussion was spurred by news that broke this summer that the owners of George’s Greek Cafe (5316 E. Second St.) had submitted an application to the city for a parklet. According to Bill Lorbeer, chair of the Parking Commission and owner of the building housing George’s Greek Cafe, the application for a parklet for the business has been withdrawn, but city officials could not confirm that the application officially has been withdrawn.
Roseman said that negative community feedback about the proposed parklet in front of George’s Greek Cafe was what put a halt on the project. Still, he wanted to hear feedback from the Parking Commission to see if parklets might be a consideration for other businesses on the street.
Commissioners at the meeting Thursday morning mainly voiced concerns about the possibility of losing parking spaces on Second Street as well as how a parklet could crowd already limited sidewalk space.
They also questioned the safety of adding parklets to a busy commercial corridor. They said that although three parklets have been successfully installed along Fourth Street in Long Beach, the street configurations and pedestrian traffic is different in Belmont Shore.
Some also had concerns about whether or not a parklet would interfere with Belmont Shore events such as the Christmas Parade, where high school marching bands fill up the street from curb to curb.
Parking commissioners Joy Starr, Eric Forsberg and Marsha Jeffer voted against supporting parklets in Belmont Shore. Lorbeer abstained from the vote.