The City of Albany is hoping to increase the amount of outdoor dining space for local restaurant owners by closing down portions of two key streets. While it's not a done deal yet, one local restaurant owner told me that "It will happen!" and thinks that it could start as early as next weekend.

Phase 3 of the Governor's plan will allow - among other things - Capital Region residents to actually sit in a restaurant and eat food starting on Wednesday.  While seating capacity will be reduced to 50 percent, it will certainly help give struggling local business owners the 'pop' they need after three months of relative dormancy during the pandemic.

Will Phan is the owner of two restaurants on Lark Street,  LAX and Lark Street Poke Bar, and he's excited about the proposed idea by the Lark Street BID that would help out struggling restaurants even more.   The plan according to Phan, includes shutting down Lark Street from Washington to Madison Ave. nixing car traffic increasing outdoor patio space considerably. 

The proposed plan according to Phan, "Would (include patio space) on the whole sidewalk and they will move (foot traffic) out into the street with barricades."  I asked him if he envisioned something like a smaller, weekend version of Lark Fest with street vendors and some additional nightlife, and he told me that was indeed the "big picture."

The other major part of this proposed plan would include blocking off a portion of Madison Avenue in the Pines Hills section of Albany between West Lawrence Street and South Allen St.  This would, in theory, produce the same desired increase in patio space and foot traffic for restaurants like Juniors, The Point and Cafe Madison that are all near one another. 

The proposed plan would take effect as early as next Friday June 26th according to Phan, and would extend through Labor Day.   It would be weekends only, Friday evening to Saturday at 11pm. 

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