Monday, October 2, 2023

Parts of this street in Williamsburg will turn to 1-way traffic so restaurants can expand outdoor dining, carry-out options

(WYDaily/Courtesy of the city of Williamsburg)
(WYDaily/Courtesy of the city of Williamsburg)

It’s all about helping local restaurants regain at least some of their business and work in alongside Gov. Ralph Northam’s Phase 1 reopening.

So, for the time being, the city of Williamsburg has turned the 400 and 500 blocks of Prince George Street into one-way traffic patterns “to allow them to expand their carry-out and outdoor dining options.”

Some of the roadway will remain closed so that restaurants can expand their dining areas; other parts of the street will become food pick-up areas, city officials said in a news release.

That move was made possible by City Manager Andrew Trivette’s emergency temporary zoning guidelines and the city’s Forward Williamsburg plan issued on May 15.

“Outdoor dining and more curbside pick-up locations benefit Williamsburg’s entrepreneurs and their workers who face continued hardship due to the pandemic,” Trivette said in the news release. “While we look to support our local businesses, these changes also presented the City with an opportunity to temporarily reduce regulations to allow businesses to innovate to their dynamic needs during the pandemic.”

Prince George Street will be one way from Armistead Avenue to North Boundary Street and will feature outdoor dining space in front of Amber Ox Public House and 10-minute curbside parking for the remainder of the block. There will be no parking on the south side of the street.

Further down Prince George Street toward the Historic Area, traffic will be one way from North Boundary Street to North Henry Street, officials said.

LOKAL, Retro’s Good Eats and Aromas Coffeehouse Bakeshop & Café will have outdoor dining space expanded onto the street. Curbside 10-minute pick-up areas will be available on the left side of the street from the Campus Shop to Kilwins.

There will be no on-street parking between North Boundary Street through to the Blue Talon Bistro on the street.

All other 30-minute parking places on-street will remain, officials said.

The emergency temporary zoning guidelines are categorized by facility type and are in effect and expire under any of the following conditions: on the revised directive of the city manager, the adoption of an ordinance by the City Council, or by July 31, 2020.

The city partnered with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to buy 40 table sets — maintained by Colonial Williamsburg – to provide public seating options pursuant to the guidelines. Those table sets are open to the public in the heart of Merchants Square on Duke of Gloucester Street.

Emergency temporary zoning guidelines

Private outdoor seating expansion:

  • Existing outdoor seating areas may be expanded into adjacent areas including streets and sidewalks so long as the public throughway remains open, applicable special event permits are obtained, and emergency access is uninterrupted. Only locations in downtown Williamsburg will be considered for street closures.
  • New outdoor seating areas may be created to include portions of the existing parking field provided that the guidelines in Executive Order 61 can be met, and:
  1. Appropriate barriers must be installed to protect patrons and comply with any applicable ABC regulations.
  2. Architectural Review Board requirements for such outdoor seating shall not apply.
  3. City staff shall have the discretion to determine maximum space available for conversion to outdoor seating while providing necessary parking for patrons.

Public seating areas:

  • The city may create outdoor seating areas on Duke of Gloucester Street:
  1. The street shall continue to be closed for use by vehicular traffic and will have limited pedestrian access from Boundary Street to Henry Street.
  2. The city of Williamsburg shall install and maintain tables, chairs, and umbrellas for use by patrons regardless of point of purchase for consumer goods.
  3. The seating area shall open at dawn and close at 10 pm.
  4. Necessary emergency access shall be maintained for all adjacent structures.
  5. Architectural Review Board requirements for such outdoor seating shall not apply.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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