By BRADEN LAMMERS
A proposal approved Wednesday will give curbside service a literal meaning downtown.
Jeffersonville Planning Director Shane Corbin presented a request to the Board of Public Works to temporarily create an outdoor seating area in a parking spot outside Perkfection, at the corner of Spring and Maple streets.
Corbin said planters will be used to create a temporary outdoor seating area in a handicapped parking spot outside the business. He said the city is looking into replacing the handicapped spot with a handicapped parking space on Maple Street, but plans have not been finalized.
“It is just a project that we wanted to move forward as a pilot [project],” he said. “We’re anticipating a lot of people from the Big Four [Bridge] coming over and we don’t really have adequate seating and spaces for people to congregate along Spring [Street].”
The idea of converting street parking spots into outdoor seating areas was part of the development plans for Red Yeti, a restaurant and brew pub under construction at the corner of Spring and Chestnut streets. The proposal was that the restaurant would take over several parking spots on Spring Street in order to provide outdoor seating to its guests.
However, Red Yeti is not scheduled to open until later this year, and Corbin added that the concept of using the parking spots for outdoor seating was actually borne out of the city’s participation in PARK(ing) Day last year. PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks.
City officials said they would wait until the construction on the intersection of Spring and Chestnut streets is completed before the street seating is added at Perkfection.
Jeffersonville is planning to reconstruct Chestnut Street to create a corridor from the Big Four bicycle and pedestrian bridge landing to Spring Street. Work on the project is slated to start Monday, July 15, and last until Sept. 15. During the first week of work, the intersection of Chestnut and Spring streets is going to be closed and a detour will be in effect. The city will hold a press conference today to talk about the project.
Corporation Attorney Les Merkley initially expressed his concern about parking that will be taken away while the Chestnut Street reconstruction is ongoing, but after seeing the plans said he does not believe the change of one parking spot will affect parking.
Brian Glover, city councilman and board member, asked what would happen if the other local cafes, restaurants and bars along this street ask for the same opportunity.
“I think that’s exactly what we want,” Mayor Mike Moore said.
“The whole idea is to do this on a temporary basis to see how the public reacts to it,” he added.
But the impetus for adding the outdoor seating is to prepare for the opening of the Big Four Bridge and the increase in bicycle and pedestrian traffic expected to cross the Ohio River into Jeffersonville.
Corbin said a counter was recently installed on the Kentucky side of the Big Four Bridge and during a nine-day span, 45,000 pedestrians and 4,500 bicyclists were counted using the bridge. Corbin admitted that the counters have not been installed long enough to refine the average amount of users, but it does provide some insight on how many people may cross from Louisville into Jeffersonville.
“That’s really one of the target markets we’re going for and ... we need more seats for them to sit down and eat, and come over and do stuff,” Corbin said.
CITY PRIDE CYCLING IN ITS PLAN
Eight colorful, but nonfunctional, bicycles soon will be appearing at intersections throughout the city.
A project being undertaken by City Pride to install eight bicycles — to be painted a bright color and with a planter basket installed on the front with flowers — received board approval. They will be located all across the city and will be bolted to the ground, said Peggy Duffy, co-chair of City Pride.
“The purpose of this is three-fold. Obviously, we like to put out flowers; this is considered public art. In addition, this supports the Big Four and all the bicyclists that are coming,” she said. “Our intent, if these are well received, we’ll put some more out because our cost is relatively low. This also is kind of a visual representation for Jeffersonville as a place for bicyclists.”
The bicycle planters will be placed at Pearl and Market streets; Maple and Spring streets; Eight Street and Brim Drive; 10th and Pratt streets; 10th Street and Sportsman Drive; Tall Oaks Drive and Charlestown Pike; Eastern Boulevard and Spring Street; and Court Avenue and Graham Street.
The planters will be maintained by a nearby resident or business owner who has volunteered to help City Pride.