Regarding the July 29 news article “Raleigh eyes limiting sidewalk use by bars”: Entrepreneurial activity in Raleigh is bringing new life into our formerly blighted downtown. However, potential “sidewalk seating” regulations could chase out the businesses that are bringing dollars and young people downtown.
First we heard that overcrowded walkways during the July Fourth celebration required a Raleigh City Council proposal to limit private use of public patios by bars and restaurants. But that argument proved empty, so it was dropped.
Next we were told the problem is with downtown noise complaints. Yet a minority of a minority – five residents to be exact – have actually raised complaints, while most accept that a little ambient noise is the tradeoff of living in our bustling downtown.
If the City Council wants to address the specific, original concern of sidewalk overcrowding during major events, then it should issue specific dates that sidewalk seating will be restricted in the best interests of large events and attendees, rather than change the rules for 365 days a year.
Until the City Council recommends proposals that address the stated concern, this noisy debate only serves to discourage the growth of our competitive downtown service industry.
Field director, Americans for Prosperity