In a year that has been so bleak for many businesses, and especially independent restaurants, the LA Al Fresco program has provided some much-needed relief. The program allows restaurants and other businesses to utilize sidewalks, parking spaces and other public areas for safer outdoor service to the public.
Long before the pandemic arrived, Councilmember Krekorian had been working with the NoHo community on a similar plan to expand outdoor dining options for neighborhood restaurants. That work took on greater urgency when the COVID-related restrictions were imposed on restaurants. When Councilmember Krekorian succeeded in closing off a full lane of traffic to launch NoHo Al Fresco (the first such closure in all of Los Angeles), it proved to be a lifeline for the devastated restaurants.
In late August, the program was launched on a popular stretch of Magnolia Boulevard between Lankershim and Vineland. Councilmember Krekorian worked with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to erect the barriers that allowed for safe Al Fresco dining at this location. The area retains two eastbound lines and one westbound lane, with the center lane removed.
The citywide LA Al Fresco program became so popular that by October it was oversubscribed and LADOT had more requests than it could satisfy. In response, Councilmember Krekorian sponsored a motion (co-sponsored by Councilmember O'Farrell and seconded by Council President Martinez) to secure an additional $2 million in federal CARES funding to expand the program.
The funds will support Al Fresco dining across the City, including two new projects in CD2, one in Tujunga Village and the other on the west side of Lankershim, near Weddington.