2021 | Bethesda

Bethesda Urban Partnership hopes to keep Norfolk Avenue Streetery in place beyond the summer

Unclear how long Bethesda Row Streetery will remain

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The Streetery on Norfolk Avenue in Bethesda.

Photo by Dan Schere

The Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) hopes to keep the Norfolk Avenue Streetery in place after this summer, a spokeswoman says.

The Streetery refers to streets in that were closed off and turned into outdoor dining areas during the pandemic, starting in June 2020.

Currently the Streetery includes:

  • Norfolk Avenue, between St. Elmo and Cordell avenues, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday
  • Norfolk Avenue, between Cordell and Del Ray avenues, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.,Friday through Sunday
  • Cordell Avenue, Fridays and Saturdays, from 6 p.m.to 10 p.m.
  • Woodmont Avenue, between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street, Monday through Sunday, all times

Stephanie Coppula, a spokeswoman for BUP, told Bethesda Beat on Thursday that the Streetery will stay in place on Norfolk and Cordell avenues through the summer. After that, she said BUP hopes that the Norfolk Avenue portion can stay in place as a “semi-permanent” feature, meaning that it could be opened to traffic as needed.

“We could open the streets if we needed to so there wouldn’t be any permanent structures put in place. So, the street could always go back to how it is as a street with vehicular traffic,” she said.

Coppula said BUP has started discussing the idea of making the Norfolk Avenue Streetery semi-permanent with Montgomery County officials.

Michael Paylor, the division chief of engineering and operations for the county’s transportation department, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat on Thursday that the department has discussed the idea with BUP but not made any decisions.

The county has also allowed Streeteries in other parts of the county through its Shared Streets Initiative, including in Silver Spring, Wheaton, Rockville, Takoma Park and Germantown. Paylor wrote that the county plans to continue its Streeteries program at least until the fall. No final decisions have been made beyond the fall about which roads will stay closed, he wrote.

BUP isn’t involved in the plans for the Woodmont Avenue Streetery in Bethesda Row, Coppula said.

“We were part of the original partnership that made Woodmont part of the Streetery. But it’s really now been a partnership between Federal Realty [the developer that owns Bethesda Row] and the Department of Transportation,” she said.

Jill McCarthy, a spokeswoman for Federal Realty, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Adam Murphy, the general manager of Mon Ami Gabi in Bethesda, wrote in an email on Thursday that the Woodmont Streetery has “been a real boon” to nearby restaurants.

“We really needed the extra space for outdoor dining and this was a great way to make that happen,” he wrote.

Muprhy added that everyone he has talked with about the Streetery has enjoyed it, and he wishes it would continue indefinitely.

“It would go a long way towards creating a special, destination-worthy place in the heart of Bethesda. People enjoy the ambiance and the open atmosphere really lends to an enjoyable experience for all,” he wrote.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com