The 17 parklets that went up in Paso Robles during the COVID-19 pandemic have since been removed but now, some people want them back.
Carole MacDonal, the Co-Owner of Il Cortile and La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant, told KSBY: “The funny thing is it's not just because of the pandemic. What happened was when we had the parklets for a year and a half—however long we had them—people started to enjoy sitting outside.”
The City of Paso Robles is hosting a workshop to hear what people want in terms of outdoor dining.
“Even with the pandemic receding, we try to sit outside of as much as we can. I think it's almost a behavior now because of two years of the pandemic, so we never used to think about sitting outside,” Dennis Berger, who was visiting from the Bay Area.
“It's nice occasionally, but it's also nice to sit inside where it's nice and comfortable and the atmosphere on top of it,” noted Paso Robles visitor, Jeanie Johnson.
Paso Roble resident Natalia Casemore said: “I liked the outdoor seating and kind of the feeling of it being a small village, very much like many piazzas that you go to in Europe had that feeling.”
MacDonal has been one of the most prominent advocates to bring back parklets. She argues that when parklets are up, the city earns more through additional sales tax revenue since businesses can accommodate more people compared to what the city loses in lost parking revenue by having fewer parking spaces.
“Our customers don't complain. A good portion of our customers are tourists, so they Uber here, they stay in Airbnbs around here and walk, or they have a designated driver. And that person finds the parking space because everybody's afraid to drink and drive,” said MacDonal.
MacDonal added that one of the bigger arguments is that there is not a standard parklet, and some were more attractive than others. If parklets are brought back, she suggested the city and businesses could create guidelines that would need to be followed.
The workshop is happening Tuesday from 3 pm until 5 pm. People can attend in person at 1000 Spring Street in Paso Robles or virtually by clicking this link or call in to comment using the number 805-865-7276