Raleigh’s Urban Design Center is hosting a meetup next week to discuss parklets. These ‘sidewalk extensions’ or ‘pop-up mini-parks’ are a new trend in urban areas that attempt to bring more public space to pedestrians. Wikipedia states:
A parklet is a small space serving as an extension of the sidewalk to provide amenities and green space for people using the street. It is typically the size of several parking spaces. Parklets typically extend out from the sidewalk at the level of the sidewalk to the width of the adjacent parking space, though some have been built at the level of the street with access from the sidewalk.
Parklets are intended for people. Parklets offer a place to stop, to sit, and to rest while taking in the activities of the street. In instances where a parklet is not intended to accommodate people, it may provide greenery, art, or some other visual amenity. A parklet may accommodate bicycle parking within it, or bicycle parking may be associated with it.
If you look at the photos in this post, you’ll see some examples of parklets in other cities.
According to the flyer for the event, attached at the bottom, the folks at the UDC will be presenting their preliminary research and want to get your feedback about parklets in Raleigh.
A big positive to having parklets is that it adds more space for pedestrians to sit and linger. Already an area with very low parkspace per citizen, downtown Raleigh doesn’t have room to add more parks in the traditional way so parklets, in combination with other more urban tactics, could be the solution.
There’s also an economic activity advantage because the shops and restaurants in downtown thrive with an active sidewalk life.
One negative is that public street space, more specifically on-street parking spaces, have to be given up for these parklets. While that might make public officials wary of parklets, citing concerns about loss of revenue, I question the reality of it. Does a few less on-street spaces really result in a loss of revenue?
In my opinion, I would think that it doesn’t matter since downtown currently has a gross oversupply of parking spaces in the decks. Hopefully the UDC has some thoughts on this and how other cities have addressed this fear.
Date/Time: Thurs., July 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
220 Fayetteville Street
Raleigh, NC 27601