City of Utica Cites Public Safety, Rejects Closing Section of Varick Street
Officials at the city of Utica say public safety concerns are one of the reasons they decided to reject a proposal to close a section of Varick Street to vehicular traffic.
Earlier this month, the owners of the Nail Creek Pub & Brewery said they were meeting with the city about a proposal to close a section of Varick Street, creating an outdoor dining and gathering area for patrons of the street's restaurants.
The closure was designed to create an "urban park" to bring a "European square feel to Varick."
The proposal garnered quite a bit of support online.
City officials rejected the proposal, citing public safety. "Closing Varick Street would create other major logistical issues in this area such as traffic flow and liability," the Mayor said in a press release.
Instead, the city will allow businesses to use extended space on public sidewalks for outdoor dining, "and roping off the parking area in front of the sidewalk as a pedestrian right-of-way (this would be necessary as a minimum of six feet separation is required for pedestrian traffic)." This solution would allow Varick Street to remain open to vehicular traffic, the city says.
Restaurants in the Mohawk Valley region, including Utica, are now able to open at 50% capacity as part of the state's reopening plan.
The Village of Clinton has already created an outdoor dining space for its restaurants, utilizing the parking space adjacent to the Village Green.
Do you agree with the city's decision, or would you prefer to see a section of Varick Street closed? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org