CITY HALL — The City Council has agreed to allow restaurants and cafes to set up shop in the street under a two-year pilot program.
The council approve a new ordinance Wednesday sponsored by Aldermen Tom Tunney (44th) and Michele Smith (43rd) that would allow "curbside cafes."
They'd set up much like the so-called people spots in the city. Yet in this case the sponsoring restaurants or other businesses — in areas where the sidewalk is eight feet wide or less, too thin to allow a sidewalk cafe — would pay a $600 fee and also be required to reimburse the city's parking-meter firm for lost revenue.
Aldermen did not have estimates on the cost, but it would be based on the set parking rate in the area.
"Lincoln Park is going to be higher than Six Corners," said Ald. John Arena (45th), who immediately embraced the idea for his Northwest Side ward as well as Tunney's Lakeview and Smith's Lincoln Park.
Restaurants and cafes with liquor licenses would be allowed to serve it in the street as well. They would also be required to hold liability insurance for the spot. Only one curbside cafe would be allowed on each side of the street on each block.
Arena said he'd be looking to make sure the costs weren't prohibitive, given how curbside cafes would require platforms and construction beyond the usual boundaries set for sidewalk cafes.
"There's kind of a cost of entry here," Arena added. "I want to make sure there's an opportunity here for them to recoup their costs."
The curbside cafes would be allowed from May 1 to Sept. 30, shorter than the sidewalk-cafe season that runs March through November.
The measure passed the License Committee Tuesday and was approved by the full City Council Wednesday.
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