Make Way for Parklets

There is a new position at SDOT in the Street Use and Urban Forestry Division; Public Space Manager; and with this new role there is hope brewing for more permanent parklets coming to a Seattle neighborhood near you.

San Francisco Parklet

The re-purposing of parking spaces into miniature open spaces has grown from the latest soup d’jour for urban areas across the nation with San Francisco leading the charge and most recently followed by Los Angeles’ activity parklets to a more common wrench in the toolkit of cities as varied as Philadelphia and San Jose. Now it’s Seattle’s turn. Let’s give SDOT all of our support as they move forward.
Congratulations to the very capable Jennifer Wieland as she takes on this role. She let me know that Seattle can expect to see the pilot program roll out this summer with several projects in Center City neighborhoods.
If you would like to know more about how to develop and implement parklets, see this (very thorough) study from the UCLA Lewis Center here.

  • Nate Cormier

    what i like about parklets and other tools in the “tactical urbanism” toolbox is that their lack of preciousness/permanence allows them to reflect the spirit of emergent/insurgent places more dynamically. they feel like now, catalytic instead of eternal. by contrast, i find most public art and open space static and dull. i don’t know yet what seattle’s going to come up with after seeing LA and SF leap out ahead of us on these. darby tells me LA has parklets with exercise stations. that is definitely not us. i’ve been listening to a lot of macklemore lately so i’m feeling proud of seattle and am excited to see the scrappy responses we come up with:

  • Phil

    Vancouver, BC has some nice ones on Robson St.

  • Marc

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Crap like this is going to make god awful downtown traffic even worse which I thought would be hard to do but you’ve found a way. I already moved my firm from downtown because of traffic and it’s crap like this that has me preparing to explore the eastside when my lease expires. The frigging bike lanes all over the place were the icing on the cake and this will be the cherry.

    • Darby Watson

      Downtown Seattle has a significant lack of public open space, making parklets and other creative options a good solution to provide open space that makes Downtown Seattle one of the premier choice places to work. These are not intended to remove a travel lane, meaning they have no impact on traffic congestion.

    • Brian

      If you think convenient parking is the bees knees, then please do relocate to the Eastside, or anywhere else in the 98% of the state that has free parking everywhere. It all looks the same too, so it’s easy to find.