The city’s Department of Transportation is working with two local businesses and the Lower East Side Partnership to create seasonal seating and expanded bike parking on a section of Orchard Street. The proposal got a preliminary ok from Community Board 3’s transportation committee earlier this month.
You’ve seen the city’s “Street Seats” on other blocks. They came to the Essex Street Market a couple of years ago, as well as to Jefferson Street, adjacent to the restaurant, Le Enfants de Boheme. A combination of planters and tables and chairs are moved into place in former parking lanes. The seating is meant for the general public, not for any specific business, and no alcohol is allowed.
The owners of Cafe Katja and Dudley’s, two mainstays on the block between Grand and Broome streets, recently approached DOT about installing Street Seats in front of their businesses. They see it as a way of boosting pedestrian traffic, making the block more appealing and of cutting down on illegal bike parking.
About 7-8 parking spaces will be eliminated to make room for a combo seating/bike parking setup on Orchard Street, wrapping around to Broome (existing bike parking on Broome will be relocated). The seating will be available from March-December. The chairs and tables will be set up each morning and removed in the evening. The Partnership will be in charge of maintenance.
The full board will vote on the proposal next week.
This month, Dudley’s is going through the necessary steps to expand its own sidewalk cafe seating. Cafe Katja isn’t eligible for a sidewalk cafe because the sidewalk in front of 79 Orchard St. is raised a few inches off the ground.