ADICA plans for downtown outdoor patio

Some where concerned with the roads around the proposed patio. / Sarah Bleau

When the weather cools down from the scorching summer temperatures, business owners say people visiting Downtown Albany enjoy sitting outdoors.

"I've said before we need to bring some coolness to downtown, people love to eat outside especially this time of year," says B.J. Fletcher, Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) board member and co-owner of Cafà 230.

ADICA began discussion about a Broad Avenue Patio at Wednesday's meeting. Downtown Manager Aaron Blair says the idea is to take two to three parking spots and build a patio with ample seating and an urban feel.

"We need to really open the sidewalk up to allow more pedestrian movement throughout downtown and adding the patio seating off the sidewalk will allow us to do that," says Blair.

One concern some board members raised was about taking up parking spots because they say parking is limited in Downtown Albany already. Other board members say the parking shortage is just perception.

"We've got ample parking, we just need to come up with some signs to let people see where the parking is at and the ultimate word is 'free' parking," says Fletcher.

Blair says better signage may be the solution to let people know where they can park for longer than two hours.

ADICA Board Member Phil Cannon brought up the concern of cars hitting pedestrians in the patio. Blair says one fix will be slowing down the traffic on some of the Downtown Albany streets.

"We just need to choke down the streets a little bit so we can do that multiple ways: in an intersection you can bump out where the crosswalks are, we could cut the blacktop out of the cross walk area and replace it with brick," says Blair. He says psychologically people will slow down because of the roughage of the brick.

Fletcher says the outdoor patio is not just something Downtown Albany needs but also something the people visiting Downtown Albany want.

"That's what people are going to be looking for: They want to sit out, and just hang out and listen to a little bit of music, you might buy something from Cafe 230 but you might want to sit in front of the Italian place," says Fletcher.

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