Editorials

Roll up Raleigh’s sidewalks at 1 a.m.

Paddy O’Beers owner Zack Medford, center, leads a group of patio supporters to Raleigh City Hall for a committee meeting regarding potential changes in downtown patio seating on Tuesday
Paddy O’Beers owner Zack Medford, center, leads a group of patio supporters to Raleigh City Hall for a committee meeting regarding potential changes in downtown patio seating on Tuesday jhknight@newsobserver.com

It is quite true that a vibrant downtown nightlife is good for the city of Raleigh. But there is a point when the excitement generated by those downtown bars has to be balanced against the other sea change in recent years downtown: the increased numbers of people living in the city’s core.

Toward finding that balance, the Raleigh City Council’s law and public safety committee has recommended a reasonable plan to limit serving by restaurants on city sidewalks. The businesses will be permitted to serve on sidewalks until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The plan also would limit the service to one person per 15 square feet of space on sidewalks.

There will be a six-month trial period if the plan is approved by the council, which it most certainly needs to be.

Younger bar patrons don’t like the idea and have made their feelings known to the council with a campaign dubbed “Save the Patios.” But downtown residents rightly believe they’ve got rights, too, and council member John Odom, a veteran of public service, came up with the compromise plan, recognizing the needs of those who’d like to be undisturbed in the late hours.

Bars may lose some late-night sales, but city life will gain a better balance.

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