Should restaurants provide parking for patio dining?

parking lot
Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The city of Dallas requires restaurants to provide one free parking spot for every 100 square feet of interior space.

That 1:100 ratio doesn’t include restaurant seating on patios and rooftops lacking permanent covering, however. So on the 200 or so days a year when Dallas weather allows al fresco dining, some restaurants with patios could put exponents on their capacity.

The Dallas City Plan Commission could take up a proposal next year to change that.

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City Councilman Phillip Kingston says there are a few factions:

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  • Hardliners who think uncovered patios should be parked the same as interior space,
  • New urbanists who think the city already is too car-centric and that no fix is needed and
  • Those who think there should be some parking requirement for patio seating but less than what’s required for indoor seating.

Kingston suggested one space for every 500 square feet of patio, which is more of an instinct and “not a detailed calculus.”

He says complaints about this come in mostly from Lower Greenville and Bishop Arts, two neighborhoods with robust patio scenes. But he says he’s undecided on the issue until he hears from more neighborhood groups.

The city’s Zoning Ordinance Committee could take up the issue in December and pass it on to Plan Commission next year.

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  • Cristine

    The city of Dallas zoning impedes the city’s vision and goal to become a walkable city. Nonetheless, the automobile stills rules and the lack of political courage to increase effective, efficient public transit only adds to the impediment.

    Adding to that thought, what do merchants do if they rely on the driving customer? Until the city can get their act together and provide a DART routing system that actually works, parking will be a major issue. A city doesn’t become walkable overnight AND customers must want to walk or bike.

    At this time, a walkable environment just isn’t going to happen anytime soon in Dallas. Also, the city must provide resident parking only (RPO) to those residents that apply for them. Customers driving in and utilizing resident’s streets may be a convenient one stop shopping/eating experience to them, but it is a highly inconvenience everyday experience for the residents.

    Bishop Arts could be a great walkable part of the city, but not until you calm the automobile, and valet parking located in its core is not walkable, it is auto-centric; but that’s what Jim Lake, Square Foot, and Good Space want.

    David Spence has said a couple of times to me, that the locals cannot support the tenants he wants – this is auto-centric. Maybe businesses that rely on the driver need to take their business somewhere else.

    We need local businesses that support the locals, then maybe Bishop Arts will get closer to being walkable.