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File #: 21-0458    Version: 1 Name: 3/15/21 Resolution to Approve Downtown Street Closures for Restaurants and Retail Use
Type: Resolution Status: Passed
File created: 3/15/2021 In control: City Council
On agenda: 3/15/2021 Final action: 3/15/2021
Enactment date: 3/15/2021 Enactment #: R-21-093
Title: Resolution to Approve Downtown Street Closures for Restaurant and Retail Use
Related files: 21-0952


Resolution to Approve Downtown Street Closures for Restaurant and Retail Use


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing measures are still in place and are critical to bringing the pandemic to an end. A set of strategies and programs have been set forward outlining how downtown Ann Arbor streets, sidewalks, and public parking lots can be utilized during this pandemic period to support economic recovery and build a more resilient community, including supporting physical distancing, encouraging patronage of downtown businesses, and reinforcing core values of safety, mobility, equity, and downtown vitality.   Some of our downtown area associations provided detailed plans for the street blocks in their area they wish to see completely or partially closed for periods of time to create more space for pedestrians and businesses whose seating or sales capacity has been restricted by state mandates. 


The DDA has provided funding to downtown area associations to cover their cost of installing, removing, and renting barricades for these street closures.  The DDA will provide meter bags within these closure areas at no cost, and they will also keep in place the meter bags and signage at various locations for customer pickup/delivery at no cost.


It is anticipated that upon City Council approval, closures can be instituted as soon as special event permits are received and approved, including Police and Fire review of closures plans to ensure compliance with the Fire Code and public safety needs, AAATA for public transit considerations, and other city staff review.


The resolution language presented to Council is nearly identical to the resolution that was passed last year, with some changes for formatting and style, and updating of information to conform with new and relevant facts known about the pandemic since last year. The actual footprint of street closures has been changed slightly to exclude Detroit Street in Kerrytown, East Liberty Street between Fourth and Division, Main Street between Washington and Huron, East Washington Ave between Main Street and Fifth, and the South University business district. These changes were made on the request of the merchants associations.


Prepared by:                     John Fournier, Assistant City Administrator;

Reviewed by:                    John Reiser, Senior Assistant City Attorney

Approved by:                    Tom Crawford, City Administrator


Whereas, Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Michigan has issued orders to safeguard public safety including mandating required minimal physical distancing;


Whereas, Certain merchant and business associations in the City are requesting the closure of certain streets so that restaurants and retail businesses adjacent or near to the closed streets are able to use the street for seating and sales that comply with social distancing requirements during this pandemic period, which will support economic recovery and build a more resilient community, encouraging patronage of downtown businesses, and reinforcing core values of safety, mobility, equity, and downtown vitality;


Whereas, Applications for special event permits that include detailed plans for the streets and public parking lots on those streets that are proposed to be completely or partially closed to create more space for pedestrians and businesses whose seating or sales capacity has been restricted by state mandates will be reviewed by staff;


Whereas, While the special event permitting process will be required for the occupancy of these closed streets, this circumstance should not be considered a special event in the traditional sense because the use of the street is not for a fair, or festival, but for the immediate need to create socially distanced seating and business space in the downtown;


Whereas, Businesses who use the public right of way and other public spaces for their business operations should acknowledge their obligation to follow the requirements of emergency orders and declarations for the benefit of public health, the importance of social distancing, and the obligation they have as public accommodations to ensure that tables and chairs are appropriately distanced, personal protective equipment is appropriately worn by patrons and employees in accordance with public health recommendations, and that they are following all recommended public health precautions to the best of their abilities;


Whereas, City Council is permitted under Chapter 79, Solicitors and Peddlers, of the Ann Arbor City Code to restrict the issuance of solicitors’ and peddlers’ licenses during special events, or at times when congestion in the City or a part of the City is too great to allow peddling and soliciting;


RESOLVED, That City Council approve the partial or full closure of the streets identified below subject to the specific restrictions and conditions set forth in this resolution:


                     Main Street from William to Washington;

                     West Liberty Street from Ashley to Main;

                     East Liberty Street from Main to Fourth and from Maynard to State;

                     West Washington Street from Ashley to Main;

                     State Street from Washington to William;

                     Maynard Street on the east side or northbound portion only from Liberty to William;


RESOLVED, That City Council approve the closing of the streets identified above beginning as early as Thursday, April 1, 2021, and ending as late as August 30, 2021;


RESOLVED, That City Council approve this request for closure of the streets specified and any public parking lots downtown beginning on Thursdays at 4:00 pm and ending on Mondays at 6:00 am, except for the closures on Maynard Street and on West Washington Street which shall be for 24 hours a day and for seven days a week;


RESOLVED, That City Council grants the City Administrator the authority and flexibility to expand or scale down the closure days and times of blocks within each business district;


RESOLVED, That City Council impose the following restrictions and conditions with which the Merchants Associations must comply:


                     As required by City ordinance for special events, each Association shall obtain a special event permit to hold a special event on the streets that it is requesting to be closed;

                     Each Association shall obtain a special event permit by submitting an application in advance of an applicable street closing, that provides all information needed for review and approval of the issuance of a permit by the City Administrator or designee and that subsequent special event permits may be submitted to alter or to add to uses within these closed streets at any time during the period of the closure;

                     Streets must be barricaded using AAPD-approved barricades and designated locations to insure restriction of traffic;

                     During the time the streets are closed parking is prohibited on the closed portion of those streets;

                     Annual Sidewalk Occupancy Permits will remain valid within these designated street areas;

                     Peddler/Solicitor Permits, including permits for pedicabs, are invalid within these street areas during the time streets are closed;

                     Commercial Quadricycle Permits are invalid in areas of street closures;

                     Each Association will continuously meet with businesses owners and operators to address the concerns and issues which are associated with the road closures, changes to use of the rights-of-way, and use of on-street parking;


RESOLVED, That each applicant shall provide insurance coverage satisfactory to the City Attorney in connection with the occupancy and use of City public rights of way during the dates of street closures, which insurance shall name the City of Ann Arbor as an additional insured; and


RESOLVED, That the City Clerk be directed to mail to any current Commercial Quadricycle permit holder a certified copy of this Resolution as notice of prohibited operation during the time of street closures.