She added they are also speaking with businesses from the Southside and will be working with business owners as the plan is created.
For the most part, the city council supported the proposal.
Councilmember Austin Aslan said he believed the proposal was within the bounds of previous council goals around the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to encourage social distancing as the state reopens.
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“People want to get back to their lives and restaurants want to get back to work, and I think this is the perfect opportunity to explore some out-of-the-box thinking,” Aslan said.
Councilmember Regina Salas agreed and added she saw how well increased public space and closing streets to vehicle traffic could work during pre-pandemic trips to the cities of Denver and El Paso, Texas.
She added that as the plan is developed, the city may need to take a second look at ways to expedite the permitting and application process and to eliminate costs where possible.
“This may be new thinking for us, but other places are already doing it,” Salas said.
In other cities, the closure of streets has not been limited to downtown and commercial districts as a way to make business activities easier. At the height of stay-at-home orders in April, the City of Oakland shut down a number of streets to all but local traffic so residents had more space to be outside while not traveling far from home.