WESTFIELD, NJ — About five angled parking spaces on Prospect Street have been blocked off by cement barricades covered in navy blue cloth.
On Friday, bright orange cones placed in-between the barricades alerted drivers to the cordoned off spots, which will soon become space for outdoor dining for 16 Prospect Wine Bar & Bistro and Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee Bar.
The popular parklets — parking spaces converted into small parks and outdoor dining spaces — are returning to Downtown Westfield as part of a plan for the warmer seasons that also includes an enhanced pedestrian plaza for Quimby Street.
“Every restaurant who received a parklet last year will receive it again this year,” said Downtown Westfield Corporation Executive Director Bob Zuckerman, in an email to local business owners. “Only this year, we anticipate that all of parklets will have the nice blue covers wrapped around the Jersey barriers, which will create a much nicer look.”
With COVID-19 limiting capacities for indoor dining, parklets last season were key for restaurants wishing to expand their dining capacity. The parklets were so popular that many establishments opted to keep them well into the winter, prior to significant snowfall necessitating that they be taken down.
The enhanced plan for Quimby Street, Zuckerman said, is being developed in coordination with Streetworks Development, the civic planning subsidiary of Hudson’s Bay Company, which is developing the Lord & Taylor properties in Westfield and two parking lots at the Westfield Train Station.
“Streetworks, in turn, has been working with Dan Biederman, the architect behind the renaissance of Bryant Park in Manhattan, to enhance the design of this year’s Open Quimby,” Zuckerman said. “With their help, we have created a plan to improve on the Quimby Street experience with an attractive, cohesive, upscale destination for downtown Westfield.”
The south side of Quimby Street, which is the side with angled parking, will again be closed to vehicular traffic to create the outdoor pedestrian plaza while the north side of the street will remain open to vehicles for the purpose of curbside pickup and deliveries, he said.
On Thursday, Zuckerman shared the following additional details for Quimby Street:
- Within the next two weeks, Quimby Street will become a one-way street, with cars moving in the direction from Central Avenue to Elm Street (the side with non-angled parking). One-way traffic will flow on this side of Quimby seven days a week.
- The eight non-angled parking spots on the North side of the street will be open seven days a week for 15-minute curbside pickup and delivery vehicles only. The 15-minute limit for these eight spots will be strictly enforced by Westfield police
- The South side of Quimby with angled parking will be a parklet for pedestrians only seven days a week. No parking will be permitted on this South side of Quimby, although there will be access for the two alleyways on this side of the street.
- Four 20-by-20-foot tents have been purchased in addition to the two tents the town had established on Quimby Street last year. The tents will have bistro lights and be placed along the pedestrian side of the street.
- The DWC’s tents will be available for use by Quimby Street restaurants and food retailers. This will eliminate the need for any Quimby Street restaurant to use their own tents and will give the street a more unified feel.
- The DWC will make two tents available to the public for additional dining for take-out orders (from any restaurant) and also for fitness classes.
- The DWC plans to add two mobile sanitizing stations for the street. Additionally, sanitized wipes will be available for customers to wipe down the tables in between seatings.
- The DWC will add new bistro lighting above the tents from Elm Street down to Central Avenue. This will also enhance the look and feel of the visitor’s experience.
- Quimby and Elm Street diners can enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights beginning in May (weather permitting).
- Sweet Sounds Downtown Music will be back downtown on Tuesday nights in July and August with rain date Wednesdays.
- The DWC is planning additional promotions and activities throughout the spring and summer months.
Email Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @MattKadosh