INDIANAPOLIS — In Indianapolis this coming holiday weekend al fresco dining will be de rigueur.
That is, it’ll be cool to eat outside.
Mayor Joe Hogsett this morning announced that on Friday, outdoor dining and small business retail will literally be able to hit the streets of Marion County.
“The roads affected will be portions of Massachusetts Avenue, Georgia Street, South Monument Circle, Illinois Street and Broad Ripple Avenue,” said the mayor while also making allowances for restaurants outside the city’s core district. “Most restaurants have parking lots or adjoining properties that could serve as outdoor dining space.”
“The road closures that the mayor has mentioned represent the ability to create safe pedestrian corridors in our main dense commercial areas,” said Dan Parker, Director of Public Works. “Residents will start seeing DPW staff deploy the assets necessary starting on Wednesday.”
Parker said the sidewalks and curbside parking spaces will be reserved for dining, shopping and delivery.
“The key is the development of the pedestrian corridor,” he said, “and that is why Massachusetts Avenue is closing first. There will be a 24-foot segment of the road that will be utilized by pedestrians. We want to encourage pedestrians to leave the sidewalks and move to the middle of the road to utilize so they can socially distance.
“If you look at the double yellow line on Mass Ave, there is twelve feet on either side of it and that is the pedestrian corridor we want people to use. We do not want folks using the sidewalks which are not really built for being six foot apart, but if you move to the middle of the road, there can be four people across who can walk and be six foot apart.”
The mayor said IMPD will monitor the locations for crowds mingling for the first time in two months.
“Use common sense as well as if you have available masks to wear them whether you’re serving or you’re simply enjoying the dining experience at least you get your food and drink,” said Hogsett. “If people are not practicing appropriate social distancing, I think they will be gently reminded to do so.”
Hogsett said the outdoor dining protocols could last until the 4th of July.