June 19th, 2024

City’s patio and parklet program returns for season

By Lethbridge Herald on May 16, 2024.

Umami Shop owners Sven Roeder and Patricia Luu are taking part in the annual outdoor patio and parklet program being offered to local businesses once again by the City of Lethbridge. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – apulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Patio season has returned and with it the City of Lethbridge’s annual outdoor patio and parklet program for local businesses to be able to expand their seating opportunities to the great outdoors. 

The program was first introduced in 2018 for businesses to apply for a variety of different patio sets, including parklets which are placed on a parking stall in front of the business, minor patios where businesses can apply for patio infrastructure to be placed on the side walk in front of their business, or major patios where they can actually build a patio on city sidewalk space and fasten it to the sidewalk, leaving it as a permanent fixture. 

Justin Schipper, Urban Revitalization administrator with the City, said Thursday believes this year the program has the highest number of businesses signed up for it since inception. 

“This year we’re at about 12 and there’s a couple applications that I’m just waiting for some proof of insurance and business licenses, which I think is the highest we’ve had so far all the years that I’ve been a part of this,” said Schipper. 

He said the program is designed for businesses to expand their storefronts onto sidewalks to liven up the space and add vibrancy to the downtown. 

“Hopefully, give exposure to the businesses and specially for new businesses who are in town. The sign is on the side of the building but not everybody looks up to see what’s there, but if you have patio infrastructure, they would say ‘oh there’s restaurant here, lets go check it out,’” said Schipper. 

One of the downtown businesses taking part of the program is Umami Shop, and owner Sven Roeder said they have been taking part of it for many years now. 

“We always look forward to this, people are always asking for additional space for customers to enjoy their lunch and supper here, so it’s quite exciting,” said Roeder. 

He said the extra seating space has impacted his business in a very positive way through the summers they have taken part in the program. 

“It brings a fresh modern look to downtown, ties brilliantly to the new bike lane, people keep looking forward to it, office workers want to sit outside, enjoy the lunch, chatting, connecting, network. It’s great,” said Roeder. 

Umami Shop is taking advantage of two of the different types of patio settings offered through the program this year, with a parklet and a minor patio set on the sidewalk in front of the business. 

Because the downtown bike lane on 4 Avenue runs across the front of their business, the city has placed a ramp that connects the parklet to the sidewalk, with continued access to the bike lane. 

The city said a special coating will be added to it to make it anti-slip for grip purposes, and additional signage will be placed further down the street to alert cyclists that they will be approaching a ramp and to be aware of pedestrians crossing on their way to the parklet.

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