Traverse City Commission Considers Expanded Sidewalk Dining Areas

On Monday night, Traverse City Commissioners considered a plan to allow expanded sidewalk dining areas downtown.

Businesses could rent parking spaces and put seating there, as well as in front of their storefronts on the sidewalk.

Several city commissioners found issues with the proposed ordinance that calls for a four-foot wide lane for people walking on the sidewalks.

Other commissioners feel that the wording in the proposal allows restaurants to place a fenced dining platform in on-street parking spaces.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Carruthers of Traverse City says this could lure even more people to the city.

“It’s become a very popular thing to be in downtown Traverse City, so we’re trying to take advantage wholly of our short four month season and people who come here on vacation or people who live here and after work want to come downtown don’t always want to be cooped up inside. They might want to be outside,” said Carruthers. 

The City Commission decided to get more input on the sidewalk cafe proposal, and will hear public comment in two weeks.