2021 | News

Ellsworth Drive reopening to pedestrians on May 10

Street opened to cars early in pandemic to accommodate restaurant curbside pick-up

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The Peterson Companies announced on Tuesday that it will reopen Ellsworth Drive to pedestrians in May.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PETERSON COMPANIES

Ellsworth Drive in Downtown Silver Spring will once again close to vehicle traffic in May after opening to provide curbside pick-up space for restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, the street was closed to cars and had been a strictly pedestrian area.

In March 2020, Peterson Companies, which manages the property, opened the street to cars. It did so after business owners said they needed the space to provide parking for curbside pick-up and delivery service to help the businesses survive during the pandemic.

Some restaurant owners reported an increase in sales after the change, but many residents pushed back, saying the move eliminated much-needed outdoor dining space.

On Tuesday, Peterson Companies announced that the road will revert back to a “pedestrian-friendly environment” on May 10.

Outdoor events, like Zumba classes, will also resume.

“This temporary initiative played a vital role in the survival of restaurants and retailers coping with capacity restrictions and limits on indoor dining,” the company said in a press release. “Now that the weather has improved and restrictions are easing, the timing is right to return Ellsworth Drive to the pedestrian-friendly space it was prior to the pandemic.”

The space will have more outdoor tables and chairs, shade umbrellas and a 300-foot-long street mural, created by Washington, D.C.-based Chalk Riot.

Another new art installation, called “Blumen Lumen,” has gone up on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road, according to the press release. It is an “illuminated, kinetic cluster of flowers” that changes color and opens and closes based on the weather.

Restaurants’ curbside parking will be relocated to designated parking spaces in Gateway Plaza and in county-owned parking spaces at each end of the street.