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Outdoor dining on Clark Street is coming back

Keep in mind, though, that the area will stay open to car traffic.

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
Outdoor dining on Clark Street in Chicago
Photograph: Shutterstock
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The good news: Now through the end of October, a portion of Clark Street in River North will be open for outdoor dining, with setups across sidewalks and in parking lanes. 

The not-so-great news: Car traffic in the area will stay open as well.

The decision—well, compromise—follows neighbors' complaints throughout the past few years, when restaurants were allowed to set up for service across entire streets. 

"[The permit] balances the needs of residents, businesses, workers, visitors, and the local community," reads an official statement by Mayor Brandon Johnson's office. "The format will give participating restaurants extra capacity and create an inviting outdoor space for dining, while taking into account the need for accessibility and traffic flow in the River North community."

Specifically, the regulations apply to businesses along Clark Street between Grand Avenue and Kinzie Street.

Despite the city's attempts to satisfy all parties involved—local eateries trying to boost sales and neighbors wishing for quiet—critics have taken to social media to announce their displeasure with the decision.

"So… a horrible implementation. Got it," one user wrote on X. 

"So it sucks for everyone involved? great choice from the city on this one," someone else commented.

"That makes no sense," a third person said on the platform. "I definitely wouldn’t want to sit close to traffic whizzing by."

Alas, as is usually the case, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

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