As the City works to create a permanent Open Restaurants Programthe Alfresco NYC coalition, led by the Design Trust, Regional Plan Association, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign, has released a new reportthat calls for better outdoor dining structures, simplified processes, affordable & flexible design options, and equitable access to sidewalks.

Beginning as an emergency pandemic response, the Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs in NYC have become a lifeline and community anchor for over 12,000 participating businesses. The Alfresco NYC coalition has been working to ensure these programs are accessible to all New Yorkers, beneficial for the local communities, and sustainable in the long term.

The report, “The Future of Outdoor Dining in New York City,” reimagines city streets as collective spaces for shared amenities and culture. The coalition advocates for design guidelines and policy recommendations to improve outdoor dining installations, based on months of site visits, roundtable discussions, research, and individual interviews in collaboration with designers, advocates, and public realm stakeholders across the City. 

“Outdoor dining and open streets are widely popular, good for local economies, and have breathed new life and vibrancy onto our city streets,” said Matthew Clarke, Design Trust Executive Director. “The Alfresco NYC coalition is committed to ensuring these programs are equitable and successful in the long-term for all New Yorkers by centering design excellence and increasing access to the city’s public space.”

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