Town officials this week approved a plan to re-install barricades along the north side of Elm Street’s one-way stretch for nearly its entire length. Put in place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the water-filled white barriers will run from the area out front of Patisserie Salzburg to the alley in front of Chef Luis, following a unanimous vote by the Police Commission during a special meeting Tuesday. They’re designed to expand outdoor dining options in New Canaan, and could become part of an effort to widen the sidewalks on that side of Elm Street permanently, even beyond the stretch from South Avenue to the Playhouse whose construction is now underway.
“The weather is starting to warm up and I think it’s time to discuss and hopefully approve more expanded outdoor dining,” Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said during the Commission’s meeting, held via videoconference.
“I know our residents love it and every time I walk up Elm Street I know people are very appreciative of what we can do, he said. “And given that I am starting to see more positive COVID cases in town and starting to see it surge a little bit, I think it’s smart for us to move that forward and expand the outdoor dining as much as possible to support our great restaurants and merchants in town. I think it’s a very appreciated endeavor and I think it’s time to move that forward again.”
Because the town is legally required to preserve an unobstructed four-foot pedestrian way—and cannot, following a complaint of Americans with Disabilities Act violations filed last summer, funnel pedestrians into the street, even if they’re protected by barriers—restaurants will have the option to set up tables in the barricade-protected areas of Elm Street itself, rather than on the sidewalk, according to those who attended the meeting, including municipal department heads from Public Works, Health and Land Use.