Pedestrians Over Pavement: Philly's first Parklet eliminates extra parking for park space

One of San Francisco's many Parklets | Image via sanfrancisco.grubstreet.comPhilly’s getting its first Parklet thanks to collaboration among University City District, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, and the office of Councilwoman Blackwell. Yes, we were scratching our heads at what exactly a Parklet is (a small parking space?) But in fact the innovative and temporary structures are quite the nice nod to Philly’s many pedestrians.

A Parklet is a pavement reuse initiative that repurposes one or two existing parking spots with a platform that brings the grade of the sidewalk out to the street. Local fabricator, Bill Curran Sculpture Design Fabrication, and architecture firm DIGSAU are combining creative juices to create the first Parklets, and will outfit the platforms with planters, wire railings, and café tables and chairs.

Philly’s Parklet program follows those already underway in cities nationwide, including Parklet pioneer San Francisco. The city by the bay’s program inspired a national movement against asphalt, but as the NY Times reported back in March, the program is not without its problems – safety concerns, public vs. private use, design issues – revealing that no road to long-lasting and sustainable change is an easy one to travel.

We’re hoping that the growth of the Parklet program in Philadelphia will have less folks driving, and more seeking alternative modes of transportation. Plus, inspire the spread of alternatives to asphalt city wide. Viva la Parklets.

Parklet Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Thursday, August 4, 1 p.m.

Green Line Café, 4239 Baltimore Ave.