Denver, Colorado 2020-10-16 19:30:15 –
LONGMONT, Colorado – Drivers might find the cement barriers on Main Street in Longmont a burden, but restaurant owners say they’re keeping their businesses thriving.
“It creates community,” said Andrea Bullard, co-owner of La Vita Bella. “In these times, that means being able to accommodate our customers safely in a way that makes them feel comfortable.”
The barriers allowed several restaurants to take advantage of two lanes normally reserved for traffic. Although it can be loud, it protects people.
“It was interesting to see what other people do with their space,” Bullard explained. “People want to see each other. And that, again, has given people the opportunity to do so.”
But the winter months are fast approaching and as the heat subsides, the barriers will likely disappear as well. City officials say they need space for critical traffic, emergency and snow removal lanes.
“We’re going to have these snowy or heavy snow events where we’re really going to need to make sure these roads are clear,” said Phil Greenwald, director of transportation planning for Longmont. “We’re really going to have to make sure these roads are clear and we also have places to store the snow.”
But business owners say their plans won’t be frozen without a fight. Bullard has created an online petition with her husband to pressure the city to keep the lanes closed.
“In a few hours we had a hundred signings. The next day we had double,” Bullard said. “I have to be able to put something in there and be able to ask for what we need. For what our customers would like.
The city’s transport planners say the barriers will likely need to be moved, regardless of objections, as winter weather makes road travel more dangerous.
“We really want to bring it back to the sidewalk and create more sidewalk space for that sort of thing to happen,” Greenwald said. “We just want to eliminate that danger as we move into these winter months here.”