'Parklets' could be bad for drivers, great for Seattle businesson October 12, 2012 @ 10:56 am (Updated: 6:01 pm - 10/12/12 )
Once a year, the city of Seattle lets people turn some street parking into temporary parks, seating and game areas. Now, some city officials are wondering if it could work all year long.
It's bad news for some drivers in parking-challenged parts of Seattle, but it may be great news for businesses.
Parklets are already taking cities like San Francisco and Vancouver by storm. And Brian de Place with the Seattle Department of Transportation said that some business owners have expressed interest in installing parklets here.
Parklets are general amenities - they're open to the public and they are often sponsored by adjacent businesses or a conglomeration of businesses. Parking spaces are reconfigured to provide for open space for the public.
It's different than a sidewalk cafe which is for the exclusive use of the adjacent business' patrons. At the parklet, "You could grab your coffee, I could grab my falafel and we could both sit there," explains de Place.
While de Place didn't disclose which businesses were thinking about parklets in which neighborhoods, the Capitol Hill blog has already imagined it in the pedestrian-heavy Pike-Pine corridor.
For busy places like Paseo in Fremont where customers often sit on the curb to enjoy their pulled pork sandwich, a parklet could serve as a welcome sanctuary.
Once the parklets move in, and nearby businesses put their unique stamp on them, we can say goodbye to those metered parking spots.
"We've seen how other cities do this and our thought is business districts and areas are excited about this," said de Place. "If (businesses) can demonstrate that excitement and there is a lot of support for it in the business district, then we don't want to stand in the way of this."
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