Uptown Whittier compromises on new plan for outdoor dining

US

More change coming to Uptown Whittier as the city strikes a compromise for the contentious outdoor patios.

“You’ll see sometimes during the week there’s not a whole lot of people, so I understand the car situation,” said Whittier resident Erika Martinez said. 

While the outdoor dining options served as lifelines for restaurants during the pandemic, the closed-off streets limited traffic to stores in the area — a major concern for the owner of Greenleaf Botanicals who calls the area a ghost town. 

“It really affected us because there’s no one there,” said Moses Beltran, who has owned his business for three years. “We want to take that away and make it what it used to be.” 

As the city weighed options for new permanent designs at the Greenleaf Promenade, councilmembers voted to reopen Greenleaf Avenue to traffic — but only for a few days. To allow outdoor dining and shopping at the end of the week, the avenue will close from Thursday through Saturday every week. 

“it’s kind of convenient for a family when we’re walking through the middle of the street,” said Whittier resident Jesus Martinez. “But I get the business side of view, too. If business is drying up, I guess you should open it up during the week. I guess it’s cool that there’s a compromise.”

The outdoor dining options have not only been a hit for restaurants but also for customers.

“The pandemic has not stopped, slowed down or gone away,” said customer Mike Vacchio. “I’ve vaxxed and double boosted and I still wear my mask.”

A popular pandemic-era policy, many cities across Southern California have been weighing their options on outdoor dining. 

There is still no solid timeline for when the changes in Whittier will start.

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