Street Seats pilot and evaluation
In 2012, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) experimented with a new program, termed Street Seats, to permit businesses to build a temporary platform in the on-street parking lane. Based on similar programs in San Francisco and New York City, the Street Seats program allows sponsoring businesses to utilize these platforms to add additional outdoor seating along the street. The goal of the program is to allow Portlanders to enjoy a meal or a drink outdoors, while enhancing street vitality and supporting local business.
Three businesses participated in the pilot project: Wafu, Oven and Shaker, and Mississippi Pizza. PBOT conducted an evaluation to garner feedback on the pilot from businesses, neighborhood associations, and community members. Nearly 100 people provided feedback. 90% of businesses who responded believed that the Street Seats program would benefit neighborhood businesses. 80% of community members surveyed felt that Street Seats positively impacted their street’s vitality.
Negative feedback included concerns with loss of parking, the safety of the platforms, and ”privatization of the right-of-way.” We received some feedback that the pilot Street Seats were cheaply constructed and did not enhance the neighborhoods aesthetically. PBOT also received a memo from the Downtown Retail Council that encouraged the bureau not to pursue Street Seats downtown.
In addition to gathering feedback locally, staff contacted peer cities to identify best practices and lessons learned.
Based on this evaluation, PBOT initiated a new program in April of 2013 with revised program guidelines. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Gabriel Graff at 503-823-5291 with questions or comments.