Pop-up patio approved for Test Kitchen

Test Kitchen’s pop-up patio is a one-year pilot project to help animate the street.

Residents will notice a patio in front of Test Kitchen on Brant Street.

The patio is part of a one-year pilot project to animate Brant Street and will be reviewed before proceeding next year. Seventeen locations were eligible to participate; some are ineligible based on proximity to intersections or other criteria. Test Kitchen was the only eligible restaurant that expressed interest in participating. They are paying a premium rate for the use of the parking spaces for the patio. One of the conditions of proceeding with the project was that the sidewalk remain open for pedestrians.

Jody Wellings, the city’s Special Business Area Coordinator, led the project, with assistance from Brian Dean, of the Burlington Downtown Business Association. Jody extensively researched pop-ups patios. According to her research, the first pop-ups appeared in San Francisco a number of years ago, and have been extensively done there and in New York City.  In Ontario, pop-ups in various forms have been done recently (and successfully) in St. Catherine’s, Barrie, Port Credit and downtown Oakville.

For Burlington, the design is based on research and safety standards developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).  Here’s a link to their website with more great ideas:

NACTO Design Strategies – Parklets

In preparing the pilot, the city adapted the design standards and consulted with the Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee and City departments to ensure that the design meets everyone’s needs.

As in any pilot project, staff will be monitoring to identify any issues that emerge and will be reporting to Council in advance of next summer with recommendations on whether to continue, enhance or withdraw the program.  The City has recently retained a consultant to update our streetscape guidelines – the standards for sidewalks, lighting, planting and street furniture etc.  The consultants have also been asked to review the question of sidewalk and pop-up patios as well.  That will be a public process, so residents will have the chance to provide your comments on this and any other aspect of streetscape in the downtown.

The pilot pop-up patio was approved without opposition by the Development & Infrastructure Committee of Council on May 11; the recommendation goes to City Council May 25 for final ratification.

You can register as a delegation to speak to this item here:

Register as a Delegation

Read the staff report on this item here:

D&I May 11 – Item #13

My Take:

I fully support this pilot project as a way to provide additional animation to our streets. Judging by attendance this past weekend, the patio is also a hit with residents. The design of the patio keeps access to sidewalks fully open, and the restaurant is paying for the use of the parking spaces. The project has been vetted by our legal, parking, transportation and other departments to ensure a successful project that minimizes any risks to the public.

Your Take:

What are your thoughts on the pop-up patio? Should there be more? Leave a comment below.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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