The City of San Luis Obispo is excited to kick off the first activities planned as part of Open SLO, a new pilot program to expand the use of city streets and other public spaces to support physical distancing and the economic recovery of local businesses.
The Open SLO program, approved by the City Council in May 2020, allows the temporary use of the city right-of-way, including sidewalks, parking spaces, and streets for expansion of outdoor dining, retail displays and casual strolling. In addition, the City has temporarily suspended enforcement of private parking requirements, allowing businesses throughout the city to expand their footprint—including table service—within their private parking lots without need for City approval.
“The input from businesses and community members has been incredible and really helped guide the first part of the Open SLO program”, said Luke Schwartz, Transportation Manager. “These types of community partnerships will help ensure the program protects the safety of our community while supporting local businesses as we gradually reopen.”
The first Open SLO activities will utilize Mission Plaza, Monterey Street and Higuera Street within the downtown to allow community members to come together and enjoy the downtown pedestrian district. Segments of Monterey and Higuera Streets will be temporarily closed to car traffic, allowing restaurants and retailers to expand their business into the street adjacent to their stores with a City-issued permit.
Mission Plaza and Monterey Street from Chorro to Osos will be closed to car traffic starting June 18 and will be closed weekly on Thursday and Friday evenings (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and weekends (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Higuera Street from Osos to Nipomo will be closed weekly starting June 26 and will be closed Friday evenings (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and weekends (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.). These dates and times are subject to change based upon conflicts with other special events and unforeseen circumstances. Staff will update the openslo.org, City News, the City’s social media channels and contact participating businesses should there be any changes.
Public outdoor seating and tables will be also be provided by the City at selected locations, including Mission Plaza, where guests are encouraged to grab a takeout meal from their favorite restaurant and enjoy it creek-side. Visitors are encouraged to follow all current public health guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining responsible physical distancing, washing hands regularly, and wearing face coverings in public spaces.
Other planned Open SLO activities include moving forward with a pilot parklet program, where select street parking stalls are converted to widened sidewalk space for walking and outdoor seating, as well as quick-build measures to provide more space and improve safety for active transportation throughout the city.
For more information on the Open SLO program, including directions for businesses interested in a no-fee permit to place tables and chairs in the public right-of-way during planned street closures, please visit www.OpenSLO.org or contact the City via email at OpenSLO@slocity.org.
For more information from the City’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.slocity.org/covid19, register for City News e-notifications on the City’s website at www.slocity.org, or follow the City of San Luis Obispo on social media.