Baltimore City Expands Outdoor Dining Program

The City of Baltimore recently announced new options in their outdoor dining policy and an extension on existing outdoor dining permits. 

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) announced today that it will soon be expanding its outdoor dining program to include permanent curbside parklets. 

BCDOT temporarily modified its outdoor dining program back in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Curbside parklets were temporarily approved for outdoor dining to promote social distancing and to provide hardship assistance for the hospitality industry which was heavily impacted at that time.

Since the program’s inception, BCDOT has observed a widespread utilization of outdoor dining parklets.  As a result, the agency has been working to expand its outdoor dining policy by making curbside parklets a permanent program.  The new policy will formalize design standards and include safety improvements for pedestrians, diners and all roadway users.  This policy will also establish minor privilege permits and fees for outdoor dining and lease of the public right-of-way.  BCDOT will be proposing an annual flat rate of $10 per square foot of curbside facility space.

The initial draft of the expanded policy was open for a 30-day comment period on October 14, 2022 and over 1,000 public comments were received.  More than 85 percent of all comments expressed support for making curbside dining parklets a permanent program.  BCDOT has reviewed the public’s input for valuable information, and amendments have been incorporated into the draft policy for an improved program.

At this time, BCDOT is now accepting a second round of public comments on the proposed curbside commercial policy.  The public comment period will be open for 30 days starting December 21, 2022 and residents are encouraged to share their feedback.  All comments received during this period will be considered in future updates to the policy.

The revised outdoor dining policy is expected to be implemented July 1, 2023.  Until the new program is finalized, the Department of Transportation will be extending the existing temporary permits related to outdoor dining parklets through June 30, 2023.

Read the full press release. 

This topic will be discussed with experts from around the state at MACo’s Winter Conference next week during the session, “Data, Data Everywhere: How Tourism Turns Clicks Into Cash.

MACo’s Winter Conference, “Hit the Ground Running,” will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD from January 4-6, 2023 (with a pre-conference orientation for new county officials on January 3).

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: