Palm Springs is working hard to find solutions so that businesses, particularly restaurants, can continue to operate successfully through the COVID-19 crisis. Because retail businesses are currently allowed to have customers in their stores, albeit with limited capacity, the threat of them closing is generally reduced. Restaurants on the other hand can only seat people outside and need some additional considerations.
At the August 20, 2020 meeting Palm Springs City Council approved a proposal to fully close Palm Canyon Drive, from Baristo Road to Tahquitz Canyon Way for the foreseeable future. These two blocks will be used as a pilot program to see if this closure can be extended further down Palm Canyon or implemented in other areas.
They also are allowing restaurants throughout the city to create parklets, public seating platforms that convert curbside parking spaces into expanded seating. Cities around the country and world are using parklets very successfully as a way to help business during the COVID-19 pandemic. These parklets can implemented quickly, with guidelines coming in two weeks. Sidewalks will remain clear for pedestrian use.
The closure also creates a 24 foot fire lane down the middle of Palm Canyon as a throughway for emergency vehicles. This would in essence create a large pedestrian walkway down the center of the street. There is some concern from retail and other business located in this area that they will see a drop off in business if customers are not allowed to park nearby, although anecdotal evidence from other cites suggests that all businesses will see an increase in foot traffic.
Other concerns include: managing deliveries particularly for those business that lack an alternate entrance, traffic congestion along adjacent streets, ride share and food delivery service pick-ups as well as maintenance and sanitation by the city.
Additionally, restaurants on side streets, and those outside of this area including Arenas Road, could create parklets within the parking spaces in front of their business to allow for greater capacity. The business along Arenas Road are also considering asking the city to close Arenas every weekend.
https://www.palmspringsca.gov/government/departments/engineering-services/engineering-design/private-development/temporary-land-use-permits-outdoor-dining-guidelines for more information or visit the City of Palm springs website and search on outdoor dining.