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‘I want them to stay as long as possible’: Department of Transportation announces automatic parklet permit renewal

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Posted at 10:03 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 23:18:04-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City’s Department of Transportation recently announced restaurants with parklet permits will automatically have their permits extended. 

The outdoor dining spaces were created under the Department of Transportation’s Emergency Outdoor Dining Program, enacted to help hospitality establishments survive COVID-19.  

Set to expire on July 1st, 2022, DOT said it will extend the permits until December 31, 2022. 

In a statement DOT said: 

“Since the program's inception, BCDOT has observed widespread utilization of the outdoor dining parklets. Since the program's inception, BCDOT has observed widespread utilization of the outdoor dining parklets. Acknowledging the popularity of this emergency program, and the ongoing local State of Emergency, the Department of Transportation will be extending the temporary permits related to outdoor dining parklets until December 31, 2022."  

Simultaneously, the Department of Transportation is actively drafting a formal expanded outdoor dining policy that will include parklets.

BCDOT currently anticipates releasing the revised outdoor dining permit policy for public comment in the summer of 2022 and intends for the new policy to go into effect on or around January 1, 2023. The new policy will establish annual permits for outdoor dining and formalizes design standards along with safety improvements for pedestrians, diners and all road users.  

While the expanded outdoor dining policy is being developed, no new outdoor dining parklet applications will be issued until the updated policy goes into effect.

More details on the revised policy will become available once it is posted for public comment in the summer of 2022. The revised Outdoor Dining Program will not fall under the new Community Led Placemaking Program [gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

Restaurants who spoke with WMAR-2 News said the parklets have become part of Baltimore’s evolving restaurant scene. 

“We started off small with the outdoor space,” said Audiel Vera, executive chef at Avenue Kitchen & Bar. 

The Hampden restaurant was one of the first restaurants in the neighborhood to erect a parklet. 

“Over time we’ve improved it,” said Vera. “Now it has a California vibe. It compliments our indoor space.” 

It’s helped keep revenue flowing. 

“People can sit inside or out,” said industry worker Cora Flynn. “When it’s popping outside, there’s a need for more employees. That means more hours. It’s just good for business, it’s good for the dinning experience. It’s just good overall." 

Fells Point has also seen parklets pop up across the business district. 

“Everyone loves it,” said Adam Williams, general manager for Slainte Irish Pub and Restaurant. “There’s been nothing negative about them. I want them to stay as long as possible.