San Diego Approves Permanent Outdoor Dining

The city's new regulations pave the way for making the pandemic experiment a permanent fixture.

1 minute read

November 1, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


As Lori Weisberg reports, the San Diego City Council approved new regulations that will make permanent the city's outdoor dining program, started during the pandemic to support struggling restaurants as COVID-19 forced businesses to adjust to social distancing guidelines. The program "will allow restaurant owners to extend their outdoor seating onto sidewalks, and in metered and unmetered parking spaces in front of their venues as long as they pay a fee, a requirement that up until now has not been imposed."

The new program, called Spaces as Places, will start next July and "include a number of design and safety regulations that will permit restaurants to install platforms for seating along unpainted, yellow or green curbs as long as they are at least 20 feet away from an intersection, street corner, alley or driveway." The new regulations only permit outdoor dining on streets with a maximum speed limit of 30 miles per hour.

Repurposing curb space and parking lots for outdoor dining has become a hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic as restaurants looked for creative ways to continue serving customers. Cities all over the U.S. scrambled to implement outdoor dining regulations and permitting. Now, as the pandemic and temporary outdoor dining programs wind down, city leaders must decide on the future of 'al fresco streets.'

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 in The San Diego Union-Tribune

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Ice fishing tents surrounded by fence in Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused people in parking lot in Denver, Colorado.

An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans

Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.

7 hours ago - High Country News

An electric bicycle is shown with the legs of a human who is riding the e-bike.

Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16

State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.

March 1 - Oregon Capital Chronical

Aerial view of canal cut into beach in Charlestow, Rhode Island with boats parked in sand.

Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year

Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.

March 1 - University of Rhode Island

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.