PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto envisions a block or two of Walnut Street in Shadyside set up with a hundred tables sponsored by restaurants still shuttered by COVID-19 restrictions.
"You sit down at a table, you decide what restaurant you want to go to that night. You get the menu and you have your meal outside."
The city Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) is talking to business districts and community groups to gauge interest and locations. So far, restaurants downtown, on the Southside and Lawrenceville are among those showing interest.
"We can have a more vibrant and a much more economically successful summer for our restaurants in Pittsburgh," said Peduto. He thinks it could be done while the region is still in the yellow phase of Governor Wolf's staged economic recovery from COVID-19 restrictions.
DOMI is currently surveying businesses neighborhood leaders about other ways the city can help during the pandemic. Officials envision other retail or service businesses moving outdoors. They're considering a "slow streets" program to make outdoor distancing easier in residential areas. And addressing regulatory barriers to businesses that seek to change operations in the face of the pandemic.
Peduto says, "I think within the next month will be the critical time. If we can get outdoor seating established during this next month I think that we can save the restaurants within the city of Pittsburgh."