PARK HERE! Or How to Create a Parklet
August 2, 2011
Almost every day thousands of Philadelphians are protagonist in a small game: the perfect parking space quest. The amount of time and energy devoted to finding a space is significant (some studies suggest people looking for parking contribute to 30% of the traffic you sit in). It is such that we can’t imagine a better use for that precious curb space than it standing empty waiting for us, individually, to come and park our vehicle. It seems to be a long standing Philly tradition that we want to park in a space right in front of where we are going or want to be (plus we want it for free).
Sometimes there may be a better use for those 160 square feet of space. Instead of having one or two people utilize that space for an hour or two, what if five to ten people could pull up a chair and enjoy the space and their neighborhood? That’s what Parklets are for. Parklets are small wooden platforms with seats and tables that allow people to stop, sit and enjoy their neighborhood street life. Sort of like a front porch or hanging on the stoop.
The University City District is partnering with the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities to bring Parklets to Philadelphia. On August 4th, the first Philadelphia Parklet will be installed at 43rd and Baltimore outside the Greenline Café.
In San Francisco (another city that has developed Parklets) where people generally pay anywhere from $250 – $350 for a monthly parking space neighbors agree that the approximately this space is more valuable as a park than as parking.
Parklets represent an amazing collaborative effort between local businesses, community groups and the City to bring unique and innovative addition to their neighborhoods. They allow us to re-imagine our streets as places for more than just driving and parking. This ties in nicely with Mayor Nutter’s goal of being the greenest city in America and a broader livability agenda for Philadelphia.