More Space: Main Street
The City of Houston is working hard to support our businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. One key opportunity is to find transportation space that isn’t needed for transportation and allow businesses to use it so serve customers while socially distancing.
Main Street in downtown Houston is home to many restaurants and bars. Main Street also serves as a walking, biking, and transit spine with limited functions for driving. More Space: Main Street focuses on the businesses along Main Street in downtown Houston, re-energizing Main Street as an interesting and vibrant corridor. The More Space: Main Street Program will close certain blocks of Main Street from Commerce to Rusk to vehicles (drivers can still cross Main Street on the side streets) and allow restaurants and bars set up tables in the roadway to serve customers. Tables will be enclosed to define the serving area and to separate the area from the METRO Red Line operations. This effort is a partnership between the City of Houston, Downtown District, and METRO.
Businesses interested in participating in the program should fill out and submit the More Space: Main Street Application (.pdf). Or the More Space: Main Street Application (.docx). This Program Design Guidelines document (.pdf, updated February 2022) provides guidance for Main Street business owners to participate in the program (for this program, a business is defined as a bar or restaurant).
Q&A From More Space: Main Street Presentation To Businesses
A: Sidewalk café requirements remain the same. More Space: Main Street only allows for outdoor seating space in the roadbed.
A: Downtown District will roll additional trips into the routes if needed.
A: The tenants must coordinate to share the same space available for the building. If you share the whole area (in accordance with TABC) without separate fencing between, then you do not need to return to us for a permit. If your agreement changes the configuration (e.g. separated fencing) then you will need to get reapproved.
A business should not need to close since program participation is all exterior changes. The business is responsible for build-out of its own patio, so construction time will vary depending on the design approach taken. If the business is on a corner with an existing curb ramp, it shouldn’t take long.
A: Like all vehicles, Uber & Lyft will be able to travel on the cross streets. The City and Downtown District will continue to identify drop-off/pick-up locations as customer volumes return to Main Street.
A: White water barricades will be wrapped with graphics from Downtown District.
A: Firetrucks can utilize the METRO Rail lane to access mid-block buildings.
A: The program will last until March 31, 2023 or until the end of all COVID protocols.
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