Bangor Public Works crews install planter boxes along the edge of Main Street to block vehicle access to Broad Street the afternoon of June 12.

A section of Broad Street in downtown Bangor will close to vehicle traffic for the rest of the summer starting Friday afternoon to facilitate outdoor, socially distanced dining and other activities downtown as businesses start to reopen from the coronavirus shutdown.

Bangor City Manager Cathy Conlow approved an emergency measure to close off Broad Street, between Main Street and Merchants Plaza. The closure takes effect at 4 p.m. Friday, and the section of street next to West Market Square will remain closed until Labor Day, Sept. 7, or until the city’s state of emergency ends, whichever comes first, according to the city.

Restaurants and other businesses along the square include Mexicali Blues, Ipanema, Blaze Restaurant, the Charles Inn, West Market Square Coffeehouse, Paddy Murphy’s, Evenrood’s and Designs by Aaron.

Drivers wishing to access the rest of Broad Street, along the backside of Main Street, can approach the street from Bangor Alley, a short street that connects York Street and a bridge over the Kenduskeag Stream to Broad Street.

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The street closure discussion began a few weeks ago, with an initial plan floated that included the closure of Broad Street as well as Central Street and part of Harlow Street. That plan was quickly shot down as most business owners along Central Street reacted negatively to the idea.

Other ideas, designed to help businesses offer more outdoor services in order to facilitate social distancing, include the offering of “parklets” in parking spaces directly outside businesses. Several restaurants, including 2 Feet Brewing on Columbia Street and Pepino’s Mexican Restaurant on Park Street, have already been granted parklets for outdoor dining.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.