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Proposal would swap out some parking spaces for restaurant seating

Madison business owners could be adding a few more places to eat and drink outdoors, under a proposed pilot plan. But it would come at the cost of some Downtown parking.

The features, known as “parklets,” would allow businesses to appropriate parking spaces immediately in front of their establishments for extra seating or green space. To make up for the loss of parking revenue, the businesses would be required to pay the equivalent of whatever the city could have earned in meter fees while the space is being used.

“They’ll be extensions for businesses that don’t have enough space to do a sidewalk café,” said Rebecca Cnare, Madison’s urban design planner.

The idea originated in San Francisco after that city adopted a policy for parklets in 2006.

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