Restaurants in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood propose in-street dining

SEATTLE -- Al fresco dining may be coming to a street near you. James Weimann, owner of Bastille Cafe & Bar and Stoneburner is proposing in-street dining to help struggling businesses while promoting social distancing.

"Watching our weekly farmers market gave me the idea."

On an average Sunday, pre-COVID, 12-15,000 people come every Sunday between 10-2pm, so it's a great boon for every business on Ballard Avenue," said Weimann.

Weimann says he's been working with councilmember Dan Strauss on developing a pilot program. While the logistics are still up in the air, Weimann proposes shutting down one lane of the avenue for dining and keeping the other lane open for takeout orders. Ballard restaurants say they are on board.

"It would be great to restart the economy. Great to have this be a pilot program where every neighborhood could have," said property manager Ragan Peck.

Diners believe it's a great idea too but have some concerns.

"I'm in favor of it, however, you have to consider the weather here in Seattle," said Gordon Myers.

Meghan Smith adds, "because the homeless population is high in Ballard, I bet they will have a hard time this will go through because people will be concerned."

Weimann says he hopes to have a proposal approved by the city in time for Phase 2 when restaurants are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.

"If we can bring the life of the restaurant inside to the outside, I think it's going to be win-win for everyone," says Weimann.