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LA's New Outdoor Dining Rules Could Become Permanent

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A new outdoor dining area on Washington Blvd. in Culver City in July. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)
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Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu has introduced a motion to make temporary outdoor dining rules introduced during the coronavirus pandemic a permanent fixture on the city's streets -- and sidewalks -- and parking spots.

In late May, the city launched L.A. Al Fresco, an initiative that allows restaurants to turn public spaces such as sidewalks, parking lots and driving lanes into outdoor dining areas. Once restaurants apply and are approved for the program, they receive planters, barricades and umbrellas they can use in their new outdoor dining spaces.

Nearly 1,600 restaurants are participating in L.A. Al Fresco and last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that all permits issued as part of the initiative would be extended through 2020.

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(Courtesy L.A. Department of Transportation)

Ryu, who reps District 4 (which includes Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Koreatown, Miracle Mile, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys and Toluca Lake), wants to take the program one step further.

He wants the city's Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Engineering (along with several other city departments) to report back on the feasibility of developing a permanent Al Fresco program, one that "allows for a streamlined outdoor dining permit process, including but not limited to a potential program structure, eligibility criteria, safety and infrastructure requirements, and a plan that would enable interested businesses to opt-in to the permit program."

Such a move could require changes to state and county codes, so Ryu also wants the report to look into those issues.

It's early days yet, so we'll see how this plays out.

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