In a recent virtual work session, Winter Park commissioners discussed the possibility of further weekend road closures following the success of the Mother’s Day weekend event on Park Avenue. Closing Park Avenue enabled restaurants to use the street for placement of outdoor tables facilitate social distancing.
While the effort was helpful to restaurants and seemingly enjoyed by patrons, there are other factors to consider. Closing Park Avenue (and potentially New England Avenue for restaurants located within Hannibal Square) is a relatively expensive proposition for the City with respect to police, code enforcement, and other staff required to be present after hours. Commissioners also voiced concern over the impact on retailers that street closures bring as well as being fair to other restaurant owners, the majority of which do not operate on Park or New England Avenue.
The commission asked staff to return with options for consideration at a future meeting, which may include the use of removable roadway barriers, referred to as bollards, to ease the burden and expense of a required after-hours police presence. Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary signaled interest in exploring the supportive measure, stating: “We’re looking to help the business community; we need to do everything we can to ensure [its] success.”