Taunton installs momentary outside seating space

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — The metropolis of Taunton opened a model new outside seating space this week, and whereas it’s solely momentary, not everyone seems to be a fan of it.

The outside seating space is positioned close to the Taunton Green and consists of a number of picnic tables, chairs and umbrellas, in addition to jersey boundaries to guard these using the house from oncoming site visitors.

“I’m thrilled we are able to offer a new outdoor seating area for people to dine, read, or meet for coffee and relax,” Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell stated. “Many cities across the Commonwealth have installed these public plazas in response to the pandemic. They have been a huge success and we are excited to bring this innovative thinking to Taunton.”

The outside house was made attainable by a $40,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Spaces program.

“We have so many great things going on downtown,” Downtown Taunton Foundation and Business Improvement District Director Colleen Simmons stated. “Having this additional space available for people to meet for coffee or eat their lunch or take a break while shopping makes downtown even more appealing.”

But not everyone seems to be on board with the brand new house.

Michael Cashman, proprietor of Devitos Pizzeria, believes it’s truly driving prospects away from his store.

“It’s a great concept, but the wrong area,” he stated. “Nobody with common sense is going to sit out here and enjoy food listening to [oncoming traffic], sirens and breathing in fumes.”

Cashman can also be questioning the protection of the outside seating space’s location, however the metropolis claims the design was rigorously constructed by engineers with that in thoughts.

The metropolis additionally stated the design of the brand new public house consists of site visitors calming measures.

And whereas Cashman is anxious that the outside seating space will overcrowd an already congested space, town stated just one parking spot was sacrificed.

Cashman believes that’s one parking spot too many.

“A parking space is now gone,” he stated. “Parking spaces have a revenue value to all businesses, not just me.”

The outside seating space is barely momentary and can stay open all through the summer time. If profitable, town will look into making it everlasting.

Cashman tells 12 News he plans to go to subsequent week’s Taunton City Council assembly to precise his considerations.

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