SANTA MONICA—As cities continue to reopen, they are coming up with creative methods to ensure the safety of community members. One of the projects that the city of Santa Monica is working on starting this week is knonw as the Al Fresco–Vibrant Main Street Corridor Project.

The project, which was announced on June 22, will allow businesses along Main Street to temporarily expand their outdoor dining and shopping by reallocating parking and vehicle turn lanes. This provides more space for pedestrians, diners and shoppers to utilize.

“As we seek to support our local businesses and provide safe ways to enjoy our city, reimagining our public rights of way becomes essential,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “We will continue to look for opportunities to expand sustainable transit and safe outdoor dining in Santa Monica. As we do so, we need everyone who comes out to enjoy our vibrant local restaurants and public spaces to wear a face covering and practice safe physical distancing for the public health and safety of all.”

The designated area for this project stretches from Pico Boulevard to Pier Avenue. Features include space in the public right-of-way to allow outdoor dining, outdoor retail, and physical distancing, parklets between Pico and Hollister, and sidewalk extensions along designated routes.

Once the project is completed, roads will consist of a single vehicle and bike lane in each direction. Parking lots behind Main Street will remain available, but street parking will be temporarily eliminated.

Work to set up the project will take place from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., June 22 to June 26 on Main Street. During this time, two-way bicycle and vehicle traffic will remain open. Main Street will be fully closed between Bay Street and Marine Street from 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. June 29 to July 10.

The city expects these temporary changes to be implemented for up to a year. The project is in partnership with the Ocean Park Association and the Main Street Business Improvement Association.

Marc Morgenstern, President of the Ocean Park Association said, “OPA and the Ocean Park community are excited to see Main Street’s transformation underway. In partnership with the City and the Main Street merchants, we fully support the pilot project to help save jobs, preserve businesses, and create a vibrant and safe environment for residents and visitors to enjoy.”