Temporarily closing Sherman Avenue is consistent with what other cities have done like Portland, Maine, Wilmington, North Carolina, Palo Alto, California and Boise, Idaho. Smart growth cities around the country are responding to COVID-19 by opening more streets for people to safely be outside. Temporary pilot projects are proven to help people understand proposed changes to streets by allowing them to experience the change; essentially, try it before you buy it. The option to shop and sit outside does give some customers an extra layer of comfort, making them more willing to patronize businesses.
Closed streets must have provisions for emergency vehicles, handicapped access, and delivery vehicles. The city will need to create a “streamlined permit process” to temporarily allow restaurants and retail stores to serve customers and sell goods in the closed street. Cities should require a floor plan and set a closing time e.g. 10 PM. Business owners will need to supervise their designated spaces and be sensitive to public safety. Restaurant and bar customers must remain in the areas designated for the business the food/alcohol was purchased from.
If businesses and citizens are genuinely concerned about protecting each other than social distancing is necessary. This means more space for customers. If you honestly have concerns about each other’s health and want our business community to survive then this proposal should help. I trust the Coeur d’Alene City Council in conjunction with our City Community Development Director to develop a plan that helps us all.