College Street partially closes to accommodate New Haven restaurants expanding outdoor dining

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven is detouring traffic along a busy street to help some restaurants expand their outdoor dining service.

Parts of College Street is closing between Chapel and Crown. City officials say the right parking lane will be for people looking to dine outside and the right travel lane will be made just for pedestrians and diners.

RELATED: New Haven’s ‘Summer Saturdays’ helps downtown businesses recover from coronavirus shutdown

Owner of Roia Restaurant, Avi Szapiro, said multiple businesses along the street, including his, worked with the city to come up with different ways to better serve customers.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for businesses,” Avi said. “I think it’ll spark liveliness into our community.”

Given the current pandemic, many restaurant owners have had to alter the way they serve up food and drinks. For Avi, he has resorted to a new kind of takeout.

“We figured how do we keep our employees safe and the public safe and still give some cool stuff. So we focused on the things we do really great and we can sell through the window,” he said.

With more foot traffic in the area, Avi thinks the brick and mortar restaurants in the area will benefit big time. In fact, he already noticed the road changes impacting businesses on College Street this past weekend.

However, News 8 spoke with some construction workers who said they struggled to find parking and are frustrated with the changes.

When it comes to problems with parking, the city also changed the parking meters in the area. What used to be two-hour parking spots are now 10-minute spots intended for food pick up and drop off.

And while this seems like a good idea for the rest of the summer to some, others say it’s a short term option while the weather is still warm.

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