Coupeville leaders are considering temporarily closing a portion of Front Street to traffic in order to allow pedestrians more space for social distancing in the commercial historic district during the ongoing pandemic.
During a town council meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Molly Hughes asked the council’s permission to move forward with the closure for the month of June.
The partial closure would affect Front Street, from the intersection of Alexander Street to Main Street. No cars would be allowed and no parking would be available, depending on what days and times the road is closed.
According to Hughes, tourism-related stores and restaurants support the closure. Last weekend, she observed the line for Kapaws Iskreme going down the block, past the Grace Street intersection and beyond.
The mayor referred to the narrow little sidewalks and pedestrian crossings of Front Street as a “recipe for disaster.”
Businesses providing services catering to locals, however, don’t want to see the road closed to parking, either for customers or their selves, Hughes said.
She mentioned a solution would be for employees to park in the lot by the town hall. The temporary parking area in the Community Green could be fenced and opened up, too.
If it moves forward, the Front Street closure would allow the three restaurants to set up tables outdoors, increasing serving areas. Retailers also may be allowed to expand outside with merchandise. Businesses would need to make arrangements to receive deliveries.
Town council members agreed the closure would be a good idea. They said one month would be a proper amount of time to have the closure, with the option to extend it during the next council meeting.
Hughes said she would continue working with the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce and the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association.
A new town code or ordinance may need to be created to allow the Front Street closure.