Push for New Restaurant Patios Sparks Debate in St. Paul

Updated: 02/07/2013 10:54 PM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson

Charles Repke represents the owners of the Park Square Court and Stevens buildings on 6th street downtown St. Paul. For the restaurants in their buildings the owners want to add patio seating to the sidewalks facing Mears Park.

"This space then for the entire block would be able to have patios, sit down dining," Repke said.

To bring about all of this, a major overhaul of sixth street would have to happen. The original plan shows the sidewalk going from 10 feet to 18 feet wide. Both sides of sixth street would lose parking plus the handicap spaces near the YMCA for a total of 22. The bus lane would go and there would only be two lanes for traffic. Public works has since changed the parking plan.

"So from 6-9 a.m. there will be no parking there but all day long people will be able to park there," Repke said.

Mark Byuk isn't sold on the project. He lives at the Park Condominiums across the street. Two years ago parking was removed from the front of his building. He says, the handicap parking spaces at the YMCA are needed for senior citizens in his building.

"It's going to be hard for them to be able to have people pick them up to take them some place or drop them off, no place to park," Byuk said.

Byuk would like to see temporary platforms used instead.

"They are not going to have outside diners in the winter time," Byuk said.

On March 6th, the city council will hear an appeal by the historic preservation committee who voted against the project. Once that is done, council will vote and give the idea a thumbs up or down.