Good or evil, Seattle parklets are here to stay

Mar 19, 2015, 12:53 PM | Updated: 2:40 pm
Applications for parklets in Seattle are being accepted until March 30 at 5 p.m. (AP)...
Applications for parklets in Seattle are being accepted until March 30 at 5 p.m. (AP)
(AP)

For businesses such as Molly Moon’s, parklets are another way to connect with customers.

“We are just always looking for a way to engage with the neighborhood, beyond our front door,” said Molly Moon Neitzel, owner of the Seattle ice cream shops. “And the parklet works really well for us; to just bring that happy, summery, ice-cream eating energy out into the neighborhood.”

Related: Jason Rantz says parklets are symptomatic of Seattle’s anti-car bias

The Molly Moon’s Wallingford location is the only one with a parklet. It is even used in the winter, Neitzel said.

And the City of Seattle could have even more parklets in the near future. It’s actively seeking applicants for its parklet program.

The application deadline for parklets is March 30. The original deadline was March 20, but the city extended it by 10 days to “give more time to generate ideas and get the support of your neighbors.”

At the same time, the city is introducing a new option in the program this year called “streateries.”

Parklets convert on-street parking spots into public spaces. The city describes them as “cost-effective” tools for increasing the city’s public open space.

Streateries are similar to parklets. They are parklets and a sidewalk café “rolled into one,” according to the city. With a streatery, a business can provide table service to their customers within a parklet. When extra seating isn’t needed, those spaces could be used as public space.

The announcement of streateries and the ensuing parklet application deadline follows concerns over parking availability in Seattle.

The city’s Department of Planning and Development is working to establish a rule that could relax definitions in regards to determining if a developer needs to build parking.

However, the city said it is making sure parklets are not affecting parking availability.

“I think – unless it’s absolutely pouring – Seattleites are going to enjoy a parklet year-round,” Neitzel said.

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Good or evil, Seattle parklets are here to stay