Utilize Minneapolis outdoor space

Minneapolis should allow businesses to sell their goods on city sidewalks.

Minnesotans are stuck indoors six months out of the year, waiting out what is often a long and harsh winter. So it’s important that residents take full advantage of the few months when the warm air comes northward.

Minneapolis residents in particular could enjoy the warmer weather by better utilizing the city’s sidewalks. Currently, hardware stores are among the few businesses that may sell goods on Minneapolis sidewalks, but Ward 8 City Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden is hoping to change that.

Last year, Glidden introduced a policy after hearing from businesses who were frustrated with restrictions barring them from selling and displaying merchandise outside storefronts.

Glidden told the Minnesota Daily that few Minneapolis businesses are aware of the sidewalk promotion rules, and the new policy would set standards and make it clear for retailers what’s OK. Under that policy, businesses using sidewalks to sell goods would have to leave 5 feet of walking space for pedestrians, and displays could be out from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The policy would also prohibit signs promoting liquor, tobacco and sexually oriented products.

The content and space restrictions set forth in the policy are important; without them, sidewalk space could easily become overcrowded with advertisements and could create an environment not suitable for children. But the majority of businesses would enjoy enough space to promote and sell goods, which would benefit local stores and make outdoor space more active.

We support the policy and hope the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee pushes it toward implementation.