On July 6th the LDDA – backed by a unanimous vote by the City Council – began its summer lane closure along Longmont’s Main Street.
The closure, which includes the parking stalls and adjacent lane along Main Street, will be continuously monitored but could be in place until mid- to late-September. Northbound lanes will be closed from north of 2nd Avenue to 6th Avenue. Southbound lanes will be closed from south of 6th Avenue to 4th Avenue.
This was not a casually made decision. Our staff and the Council took into account recommendations for the Downtown Resiliency Task Force, weighed pros and cons, and had conversations with Downtown merchants. They also took into consideration the years that the community has asked for a more pedestrian-friendly Main Street. Ultimately, the decision was made in accordance with public health recommendations and supported by Boulder County Public Health, to allow restaurants and businesses to expand outdoor dining and services, as well as offer opportunities for visitors to Main Street to enjoy the expanded space of the outdoors. The expanded outdoor space allows businesses to conduct meetings, classes, and gatherings, while still maintaining social distancing protocols. We also like the idea of encouraging biking and walking to a desired location.
However, we understand that there is a concern about the decrease in the availability of parking along Main Street that this decision necessitates.
Here are some facts and figures that we hope will put the issue in perspective:
Overall, it’s also worth noting that because the Longmont government offices – our two biggest employers (city/county) – are working at about 30% or less, and with restaurants and retail stores at about 50% or less, more spaces are available than ever before.
A map of the closure and parking lot locations can be found here.
The past several months have been a struggle for everyone. We have felt the personal and professional impact of the COVID pandemic, and the truth is that there is no perfect solution. We feel the urgency of the many who want to get back to “normal,” we deeply sympathize with those whose businesses were impacted, and we share your concerns for the community’s health and wellbeing.
As we ease into the post-corona world, we also know that some action must be taken. Our hope with the lane closure…if even for a few months…will help give a boost of optimism to the businesses hit by the pandemic and a dose of hope to the community as a whole. Our goal is to strike a balance and to maintain our special city’s warm and welcoming nature.
As this situation continues to unfold and change nearly every day, we are open to all comments and suggestions. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please call 303-651-8484.