Whittier closing Greenleaf Avenue to help stores, restaurants
WHITTIER — Whittier has a plan it hopes will help struggling Uptown Whittier stores and restaurants during the pandemic: close Greenleaf Avenue.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to temporarily close Greenleaf to vehicular traffic, allowing shops and eateries to expand onto the street.
Officials said the extra room will allow businesses to adhere to social distancing guidelines issued by state and county health departments.
Greenleaf will be closed between Hadley and Wardman streets, with thru traffic at Philadelphia and Bailey streets.
“This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for Uptown,” said Mayor Joe Vinatieri. “I’d like to see what we can really do to put this at the top of the heap and make it happen ASAP.”
The street closure is expected to last four months. City workers will either rent k-rails or install bollards to stop traffic.
Councilman Fernando Dutra agreed with the mayor that the street closure should happen as soon as possible.
“The reason we’re doing this is so that we can help our restaurants and businesses open,” he said. “We have to have a level of urgency because our friends that own the restaurants, they’re dying man. They need our help, and we gotta get on it.”
Sandra Hahn owns Crepes & Grapes Cafe, located on the corner of Greenleaf Avenue and Bailey Street. She supports a temporary closure of Greenleaf and suggested the idea in a letter to city officials.
““This is an opportunity for our restaurants, for our city, for our chamber, for our Whittier district, the Uptown Association, for all of us to come together and make a difference in rebuilding our restaurant community,” she said. “And not only our restaurants but our [retail] businesses — they need the traffic too.”
Another supporter is Victor Gonzalez, who owns the Rusty Monk on Greenleaf. He said he hopes the street closure will bring more families to Uptown Whittier.
“They can enjoy the nice ambiance, like the music, nice food, and see the city presented this way,” he said.