Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh today announced the continuation of the street closure on Walton Street along the 100 and 200 blocks in Armory Square. After a successful pilot project last weekend, the City will continue to allow storefront businesses to use the public right of way (ROW) between S. Clinton Street and W. Fayette Street to offer socially distanced, outdoor retail and dining options to diners and shoppers. The City will continue the weekend street closure on Walton Street at least through the end of August and could extend longer based on demand.
“This is a team effort, the business owners and the City working together, which helped make the street closure so successful. The pilot team—led by the Department of Neighborhood & Business Development, with help from the Department of Public Works, Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs, and the Downtown Committee—made sure that everything was in place in order to provide customers with a safe and enjoyable experience,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am excited to continue the weekend closure and hope to replicate the program in other neighborhoods.”
After the pilot weekend, businesses in the Walton Street corridor reported major increases in activity and in business. Kasai Ramen at 218 Walton Street said it experienced a 300% increase in the amount of sales and customers compared to previous weekends during COVID-19. Blue Tusk and The Hops Spot in the 100 block reported to the City that it was their best weekend since the pandemic hit. Tables were filled with customers at both Sakana-Ya and Margarita’s during their peak dining hours, and feedback from the participating business owners touted the closure as a major boost to morale for employees, according to Director of Business Development Eric Ennis.
Pita Dream, a new Mediterranean/Halal restaurant and street grill at 214 Walton Street, announced it will join the program and serve customers outdoors this weekend. Other Walton Street storefront retailers will be open for customers, including Vagabond Clothing and Sweet on Chocolate.
During the street closure, opportunities for transit access to the Armory Square District such as Centro and the SYNC Bicycle Share Program will be available. Parking options such as the Atrium Garage (115 W. Fayette St.) and the Clinton Street Garage (401 S. Clinton St.) are available, as well as other nearby options including the Washington Street Garage, Armory Square Trolley Lot, Fayette-Clinton Lot, and the Center Armory Garage. More information on parking options and alternative modes of transportation can be found at https://downtownsyracuse.com/get-around-park.
Additional information on the Walton Street closure and participating businesses can be found at https://downtownsyracuse.com/weekends-walton.
The City is welcoming applications for use of the ROW by our local businesses throughout the City, not just downtown. The How To Guide outlines instructions for expanding outdoor sidewalks to serve as café areas; creation of parklets (areas generally designated for parking spaces); and partial or full street closures for outdoor dining seating. Conceptual diagrams within the document show the proper space clearances needed when pedestrian amenities are considered. The guide also provides direct links to the café and liability waiver applications.
Use of the ROW will come in the form of approved permits from the Central Permit Office. Businesses must first comply with the NY Forward reopening guidance prior to applying for a permit. The state’s industry-specific business affirmation and safety plan templates can be found at https://forward.ny.gov/. Businesses seeking to apply for a ROW permit can use the online form, or contact the Central Permit Office by phone at 315-448-4754 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.