Temporary street closures begin this Friday in downtown Boulder

The street shutdowns center on Pearl’s West End and a block on The Hill

By Tatyana Sharpton May 28 2020

Editor’s note: We have updated the article with recent news regarding closure time. 

As the city moves ahead with its creative relief plan to help its hospitality industry get back on its feet via the Boulder Business Recovery Temporary Outdoor Expansion Program, which will shut down several blocks downtown so that restaurants can extend seating to the streets, local Italian eatery Pasta Jay’s has spent the last three days working on its floor plan.

Located at 1001 Pearl Street on a large corner space next to Ozo Coffee Company on Pearl and Zoe Ma Ma Chinese restaurant on 10th Street, Pasta Jay’s plans to open its allotted street space as soon as it gets the proper documents for its liquor license extension.

Starting Friday, May 28, the temporary closures will encompass Pearl Street between 9th and 11th Streets, including a portion of the alley on 19th Street north of Pearl, with another closure along the “Hill Event Street,” starting a half-block west of Pennsylvania Avenue to 13th Street. With these street closures, businesses can expand their operations and outdoor floor plans to parking spaces, sidewalks and even alleys.

“Small businesses are so much the heart of what is and has always been going on in Boulder,” says Yvette Bowden, Assistant City Manager and Director of Community Vitality, who has worked with the city since the beginning of the pandemic to figure out ways to assist Boulder businesses and employees navigate the economic shift through online resources and implementing safety initiatives such as Safe Shopping Hours for seniors.

Aerial street view of upcoming closures from City of Boulder’s Community Vitality presentation.

It also looks like these street closures will encourage businesses to get even more creative, as the city has partnered with its Office of Arts & Culture to help businesses collaborate with local artists on their outdoor parklet installations.

[Check out some of the murals popping up around Boulder through Covid-19!]

Spreading out

The Italian restaurant, which has always boasted a lovely outdoor terrace-vibe dining bar, will open this seating as well as the newly extended seats in the parking spaces out front its property.

“We have it figured out where we can observe the guidelines and still have both spaces open,” Isaac Ross, a manager at Pasta Jay’s told BLDRfly. “We’re blessed to have a corner spot with lots of room on either side and good neighbors. We’re excited for them to get some space as well.”

The city requires businesses to rope off their extended spaces if they plan to serve alcohol, so expect barriers of some kind around these al fresco spots.

As far as seating goes, the Governor Polis’s guidelines for indoor dining, which opened back up starting this past Wednesday May 27, require eateries to cap occupancy at 50 percent seating capacity or a max of 50 people (whichever is fewer).

“We do take pride in being a family gathering place,” says Isaac, “so we’re hoping to do our best to still accommodate large parties. City of Boulder is allowing us to have parties of up to eight people, so it really comes down to spacing.”

Boulder’s Covid-19 Pick-Up Zones. Image: City of Boulder Community Vitality.

While council has not yet given a clear date on when these closures will expire, city communications specialist Jennifer Bray confirms that “the closures are in effect effect through September,” and a memo from Yvette Bowden, Assistant City Manager and Director of Community Vitality, on May 26 states that council has tentatively scheduled a meeting for July 7 to discuss future street closures phases.

Additionally, the city has designated specific spots for curbside access so that those who prefer pickup over dine-in can still park near by and grab food on the go.

Header Image: Pasta Jay’s storefront. Credit: Pasta Jay’s