Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Outdoor Dining and Safety - Common Sense? Not so much.
About two weeks ago we had a pretty bad "accident" in Stamford - a 92 year old guy drove his car into a cafe injuring 10 people. However, I hesitate to call it an accident as it could have been totally avoided.
Never mind the guy is 92 years old, never mind the food ain't that good. I'm going out on a limb here and declaring this an avoidable situation - a FORESEEABLE situation. There's a handicapped parking space pointed right at the glass front cafe!
Common sense ain't so common.
Today I took my ass on an in-depth investigatory walk around town, studying some of the outdoor dining options and their relative safety. I am not an expert, I just have an IQ.
Here's one of downtown's newest hot spots (also reviewed by OmNomCT) Zaza Gastrobar.
As you can see, the customers are somewhat shielded by the heavy duty planters. They seem to be somewhat sturdy, but I bet they can easily be knocked over if a car were to jump the curb on Broad Street. Cars travel at quite a clip in Stamford, with little respect for pedestrians. But I have to give them props for not having any parking spaces pointed towards the diners.
Around the corner I found numerous outdoor eateries. The poor bastards eating at Butterfield 8 have zero protection from the cars pointed towards them. But, I never see anyone eating there anyway, so the odds are in safety's favor.
Diners at Chez Jean-Pierre are right out in the sidewalk and across the street at Capriccio Cafe and Lucky's Burgers the customers are somewhat protected from cars shooting out from Spring Street, but they're mostly left out in the open.
Now I understand the importance of outdoor dining in Stamford. I remember when it wasn't allowed, and I do think it's great for whatever "culture" we have here in Lower Fairfield County. But it's time for a little common sense in the planning and zoning of these eateries. It's good business. You don't want your customers getting injured at your establishment and Stamford doesn't need the negative publicity that stems from the news coverage.
Thn!k about it - I mean, think about it.