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Annapolis extends outdoor dining, fueling parking concerns

Downtown Annapolis
Posted at 4:15 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 09:36:07-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Annapolis leaders are trying to address parking issues downtown, while also allowing restaurants to continue offering outdoor dining.

The City Council previously permitted outdoor dining to continue through June, but on Monday they extended that through October.

It was initially used to help local businesses overcome the economic impacts of COVID-19.

As result, parking spaces have become harder to come by.

Some residents and other businesses say it's just not worth it.

Denise Robinson, who lives in Eastport, said the outdoor dining has bar patrons taking up residential parking. She also told WMAR-2 that she has picked up trash endlessly on her block.

"This is all the overflow," Robinson said. "That's coming from this increase in business, a bar business to this area."

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said he wants more parking garage space and for people to use free public transportation.

"This really is a beautiful city to enjoy on foot and a beautiful city to sit outdoors in, have a glass of wine and really enjoy Annapolis the way you should enjoy it," Buckley said.

Alderman Ross Arnett, the sponsor of the bill, said the current 60-day extension is not enough.

"They will have a contract to do analysis and we need to give them time as they say to get caught up with their analysis of outdoor dining," Arnett said.

The analysis will take a close look at the impact outdoor dining has had on the city.

It's no secret that parking in Annapolis has been a problem, residents say it has been that way for years.

Some downtown residents have moved over to Eastport, only to find that a lot of Annapolis has moved over with them.

Jim Conlon told WMAR-2 that he moved from downtown Annapolis to Eastport for better parking.

"The study a few years ago already identify this intersection as maxed out for parking," Conlon said. "So that means the individuals who come down here for the additional seating for restaurants will have to park on First Street, Second Street."