Adams Morgan is home to a bevy of restaurants, boutiques and markets, typically visited by hundreds of locals and tourists alike on any given day. But in the wake of the coronavirus, the locally owned businesses have been met with economic hardship no one saw coming, forcing the District to come up with innovative ways to support them.
Last week, from June 26 to 28, the District put its ideas to the test by transforming a stretch of 18th Street between Columbia Road and Kalorama Road into a pedestrian zone, allowing restaurants, bars and shops to expand their services outside. Restaurants, bars and shops were not required to apply for any additional permits to move outside, however guests of restaurants had to stay seated while being served alcohol and food, per phase two regulations.
The concept served as a pilot to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “streateries” program, announced at the end of May. Streateries—which have become a popular way to stream revenue for local businesses in the pandemic era—expand beyond individual parking lane uses, closing one or more lanes of traffic, in an effort for outdoor dining and table service to expand.
“As we begin a phased reopening, or what I like to call ‘Stay-at-Home Lite,’ we are reimagining the use of public space to support restaurants, retail and recreation,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement at the end of May. “With Streateries, Slow Streets and a lower speed limit, we can support residents and businesses by sharing roads and sidewalks and making room for the social distancing that is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
The concept has been heavily advocated for by a new advocacy group, created after the pandemic began, called the Adams Morgan Commercial Development Coalition. And, according to recent interviews noted in a DCist article, many members of the group are hoping to continue streateries even in a life after the global pandemic, giving NoVA residents yet another excuse to visit the bustling city a few miles down the road.
That being said, according to the Coalition, it “understands and intends that this request be consistent with the temporary nature of measures enacted to meet the issues of the public health emergency and are not intended to extend beyond one year from the cessation of the state of emergency declared by the Mayor.”
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