Bainbridge council to discuss Winslow Way sidewalk retail, how to support pedestrian traffic

The Bainbridge Island City Council will offer policy direction regarding the retail use of Winslow Way's sidewalks.

During Monday's meeting, the council will consider how to maintain the pedestrian flow in downtown Winslow amidst sidewalk outdoor dining and merchandise displays.

Before city staff reaches out to the business community, questions that the council plans to answer Monday are:

Should the city allow sidewalk cafes and retail displays on Winslow Way sidewalks?

What section of Winslow should be regulated by the ordinance? (This could include Ferncliff to Madison, Highway 305 to Madison or Erickson to Madison.)

Should alcoholic beverages be served in sidewalk cafes?

Should the city allow street furniture, such as benches?

If permitted, should tables and chairs associated with sidewalk cafes be removed when the business is closed?

Should sidewalk cafes be limited to certain times of the year?

The city council was asked to respond to the sidewalk retail issue early last month.

The increase in sidewalk retail over the past year has prompted an overflow of comments to the city’s planning and public works departments, Planning Director Kathy Cook told the council.

Some residents have expressed concern for handicap accessibility, a cluttered appearance and pinch points where pedestrians cannot walk side-by-side.

Other residents say that sidewalk retail adds to the vibrancy of the downtown commercial area.

Interim City Attorney Jim Haney has advised the council and city staff that sidewalk retail uses will need city-issued licenses or permits.

The council will begin their discussion on sidewalk retail during the "unfinished business" portion of the agenda, which starts around 8 p.m.

The Bainbridge city council meets at 7 p.m. every Monday in city hall.

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