Board to Consider Outdoor Seating for William Jeffrey’s

by ARLnow.com May 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm 3,009 25 Comments

William Jeffrey’s Tavern may be adding outdoor seating along Columbia Pike if it can win approval from the Arlington County Board on Saturday, May 19.

The Board is expected to vote on the restaurant’s request to set up 6 tables and 18 seats on the sidewalk along the 2300 block of Columbia Pike. County staff is recommending the request be approved, since it maintains a minimum 6 foot wide clear section of sidewalk for pedestrians to walk by the seating area.

Staff is also recommending, however, that the restaurant’s request to add sidewalk cafe seating along S. Adams Street be deferred to the July 21 County Board meeting. Staff says the Adams Street sidewalk seating request, as is, may not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act access requirements.

William Jeffrey’s Tavern is located at 2301 Columbia Pike, on the ground floor of the new 188-unit Siena Park apartment building.

  • Sidewalker

    I disagree that 6′ is enough room. For two people approaching in opposite directions, OK. But the reality is that people strolling along sidewalks are usually alongside one other person, at least. So the minimum should be I would say at least 10 feet, maybe 12, on a sidewalk.

    And why are we giving up public space so that private industry can benefit, anyway? If they want outdoor seating, shouldn’t they just buy a courtyard or install garage-door open walls on the front of their space?

    • drax

      As long as the public aren’t harmed (hence the need for approval and a minimum width for walking), why not? The public benefits too. I like eating and drinking outdoors.

      • NPGMBR

        I can certainly see this not being a problem on S Adams Street as the sidewalk there fairly wide and not well traveled by pedestrians. I can’t see it happening at all on the Pike side.

        Personally, I welcome the additon of outdoor seating.

    • jackson

      This has to be a joke post. Twelve feet? That’s bigger than a parking space an SUV could fit into. Are you strolling down the street with the surviving members of the Jackson 5?

      • Sidewalker

        No, it’s not a joke. Been to Shirlington lately? It’s pretty darn tough to walk by with the way the al fresco eating cuts into the sidewalk. If everyone were to always walk single-file, and there were never dogs tethered to the Guapo’s railing, it would be enough room. But in real life, people don’t walk single file.

        Could 12′ be too wide? OK, maybe. I’d still be for it, but I definitely know that 6′ is too narrow.

        • Josh S

          I agree, generally speaking. While sidewalk seating does add to the urban atmosphere, there is definitely a point at which it becomes annoying to the pedestrian. With the plethora of street furniture installed in that location and the narrowness of the sidewalk to begin with, I’d say it’ll be hard to fit sidewalk seating in to this location without it being annoying.
          Garage doors would be a far better solution, not that it is something the county can demand….

    • Thes

      Many of the County staff that develop these policies do not live in Arlington and do not spend much time walking on our sidewalks.

      When the photographs in their slideshows depict pretty sidewalk cafes, they get invited to speak at more professional conferences, which is something they enjoy. For the staff, a “vibrant” sidewalk is one that is heavily cluttered with obstructions. They do not view sidewalks as principally a transportation facility, but as “public space” which should be filled up.

      If a few Arlingtonians have to dodge lampposts, newspaper stands, sandwich board signs, outdoor seating rope lines, bike racks, way-finding signs, bus shelters, parking payment stations, on-street parking, bikeshare stations, street trees, and other urban amenities, the staff are not concerned. (There are plenty of places in Arlington where such obstructions reduce the sidewalk to less than three feet.) After all, as the staff sees it, pedestrians are not experts on how to use the sidewalk, the staff are. Pedestrians trying to move along the street are not understanding that the sidwalk is really being designed to get them to stop and experience the space.

      Of course, you could also just build the sidewalks larger in the first place. But staff will oppose that because it provides insufficient “compression”.

      • Sidewalker

        Exactly. God forbid you actually want to get anywhere on the sidewalk! I guess if you really want to traverse an area in a timely fashion, you have to drive.

        • jackson

          “First-world problems.”

          • Thes

            Funny you should say so. I’ve traveled in the 3rd world, and you can tell where the prosperous areas and poor areas are by the presence of sidewalks (or lack of them). And if the sidewalks are actually wide enough to handle the load of people walking down them, then you know you’ve gotten to a place where there’s hope of economic success.

          • Jackson

            All the capitals of the former European colonies in Africa will be thrilled to hear that.

  • CW

    Isn’t this like the 10th article about some sort of permit or the other for this place?

    • JamesE

      Board to consider permit that allows William Jeffrey’s to obtain permit.

      • CW


  • South Arlington

    If it’s on Adams St., who cares. No one walks on that alley anyways. And 6 feet in addition to the width of the tables/chairs seems like plenty of room, even for fatsos.

    • ShirliMan

      It sounds like there are two requests, one for Columbia Pike and one for Adams St. Although I do enjoy dining al fresco, I doubt I’d want to sit along Columbia Pike…too much traffic, including many buses.

      • Tabs

        I agree.

  • Resident

    Please remember that this is the section that someone careless built the buildings too close to the street and therefore the community lost parking along Columbia Pike. The sidewalks are to narrow on the Pike for seating and pedestrians. And, remember, the smokers are out there too… standing just outside the door in smelly groups. Might want to think about where they will go to deal with their nasty habit… in front of the door for the apt building?

    On the alleyway, fine. On the Pike, no way.

    • NPGMBR

      What parking?….There was no on-street parking on Columbia Pike before those building’s went up.

  • Resident

    In the design shared in conversation with the neighborhood…was to be included as part of the plan to keep the increase in parking in the residential neighborhood….which is swiftly moving in sentiment towards permitted parking.

    • Jackson

      What about the guy who lives back there in the neighborhood and has at least three limos parked in the surrounding blocks? Each limo takes three spaces on the street.

      • Resident

        Yes! Would be great to have this taken care of but he moves the cars periodically, making the enforcement of his use of this space for commercial purposes difficult. Would be great for all of the neighborhood for this to be taken care of…

  • Lamest

    What’s more lame: the fact that the County Board actually has hearings (plural) on matters like this, rather than leaving it to staff; the fact that ArlNow covers this again and again; the fact that all these commenters have strong feelings about it; the fact that I’m posting to make fun of all the lameness.

  • SamW

    Not sure if I’d want to sit out there either — there is quite a bit of traffic, particularly buses (as someone mentioned). I don’t know how they plan to have seating on S Adams St, since it slopes quite a bit up from the Pike.

  • Captain Obvious

    They’re not going to get Adams Street–it’s way too steep. As for the Pike, who the hell would want to sit outside on a loud, busy main street with bus fumes and constant emergency vehicle sirens?


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