Looks like Taunton is taking it to the streets with a new outdoor seating area opening this week downtown.

The City of Taunton has received a $40,000 grant from MassDOT’s Shared Streets and Spaces program that will allow for temporary outdoor seating between School Street and Knotty Walk.

“I’m thrilled we are able to offer a new outdoor seating area for people to dine, read, or meet for coffee and relax,” said Mayor Shaunna O’Connell. We are excited to bring this innovative thinking to Taunton with the help of Economic Development Director Bill Roth and the DPW team.”

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The new area will have tables and chairs right on the street, protected by barriers, allowing for a beautiful view of the Taunton Green.\

“Main Street traffic heading towards Broadway will be shifted over and subject to a yield sign upon approaching the Green,” explained the city in a Facebook post.

The city’s goal is to have the outdoor space ready to go by May 21, just in time for the Downtown Art Jam. It will be open during the warmer months, and if it turns out to be a success, the city will look into options of making the space permanent.

Dining and socializing outdoors became widely popular as a response to the pandemic, and it’s a trend that I hope will stick around well after COVID-19 is no longer a concern.

The SouthCoast thrives in the summertime and being able to get outside and enjoy the surroundings not only helps us mentally but makes areas like downtown Taunton even more enjoyable. I look forward to seeing the finished result in the coming days.