Part of Riverside’s Main Street to close for ‘Chow Alley’ plan

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Part of Riverside’s Main Street to close for ‘Chow Alley’ plan

Despite concerns about disappearing parking spaces, the block between 10th and 11th streets will shut as the city plans for ‘Chow Alley.’

Riverside’s Main Street pedestrian mall will add the block south of City Hall possibly as soon as this summer, a move that could make room for a year-round outdoor dining area and more attractions during the holiday Festival of Lights.

Changes will include replacing the asphalt with colored pavement that matches the rest of the mall and adding decorative seating with umbrellas. The project is being designed, and construction is expected to start this summer – when the block would close to car traffic – and wrap up in October, Public Works Director Kris Martinez said Wednesday, March 29.After hearing a handful of objections from people concerned about the loss of parking, the potential impact on nearby businesses and the expectation that alcohol would be served at future eateries, the City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to extend the mall between 10th and 11th streets.

Officials have said they are working on agreements to replace street and handicapped parking that will be lost and provide some extra spaces. Security would be provided when the dining area is in use.

Through traffic would still be allowed on 10th and 11th streets.

The Chow Alley project, which includes food vendors, goes hand in hand with the street closure, but officials made clear that the council will decide on that in a separate vote that City Councilman Mike Gardner said could come in May.

The barriers that will block the street to cars will be removable, so they could be taken down for an annual charity hot rod show and the various parades that use the street.

The newest portion of the mall may also host the popular ice skating rink during the Festival of Lights, but the council delayed until April 11 a decision on where to put the rink for 2017. Gardner said the extra time will allow the city to confer with organizers of the annual Chanukah Festival, which uses the same area for its event each December.

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