McKinney to convert parking spaces into additional restaurant seating

Downtown McKinney will add more outdoor seating for restaurants. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Downtown McKinney will add more outdoor seating for restaurants. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

Downtown McKinney will add more outdoor seating for restaurants. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

McKinney is adding new structures around its downtown area. These structures are called “parklets” and are being brought in to help create additional seating areas for restaurants that may be struggling with state capacity restrictions from COVID-19.

The idea comes from the McKinney Restaurant Council, who is taking cues from other cities that have adopted parklet programs to allow for additional distance between restaurant patrons, according to McKinney City Council meeting documents.

At a Dec. 1 McKinney City Council work session, city staff presented options for ways to use and regulate outdoor spaces. At the Dec. 15 meeting, Assistant City Manager Kimberly Flom said these regulations include a certain height for the barrier around the parklets as well as one parking space instead of two for parklets in certain situations, Flom said. Parklets will also be limited to one per city block.

Two of the parklets will be created using funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and they should be installed by the end of the year, Flom said.

“We received four applications of interest from downtown businesses and are currently working with them individually to make sure they qualify and get that parklet utilized in the best way possible,” Flom said.


Mayor George Fuller said he understood there was some concern from businesses that these would take away from parking in downtown and obstruct some views.

“I feel strongly that when these are implemented and people see people dining in that kind of interaction outside, it usually will generate traffic as a synergistic thing,” he said. “They will probably find that that business actually is enhanced by having people eating out in front and the community really getting engaged.”

City Council approved an ordinance enacting the parklet program until July 31 or until the state’s indoor occupancy limit is rescinded, whichever comes first. The program can also be renewed by McKinney City Council.
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the Frisco and McKinney editions.


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