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Archive for September, 2014

The blog today comes from a parklet constructed by the CORE Project for PARK(ing) Day. The original PARK(ing) Day was started by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio and has now spread around the world, always occurring on the third Friday in September. The idea is to concert a public parking space into a park for a day. Taking space away from the cars and giving it back to the pedestrian. We hope the parklet will spark ideas about the use of our streets and reconsider how we think about urban design and placemaking in our communitites.

 

Sebastopol PARK(ing) Day 2014

Sebastopol PARK(ing) Day 2014

The parklet has been well received so far by locals. People are of course curious to see what this structure is in the parking space. We setup the parklet in front of West County Cycle Service, our Main Street bike shop. The owner is a very enthusiastic supporter of the idea. Several nearby business owners asked us if we could move it in front of their business. Most people are disappointed to learn the park will only be up for the day.

Sebastopol PARK(ing) Day park on Main Street

Sebastopol PARK(ing) Day park on Main Street

The CORE Project has been trying to support the idea of permanent parklets in Sebastopol. They would be a great addition to our downtown and help reclaim some of our right-of-way for people. The city council is supportive of the idea, and wants to create an ordinance to allow people to construct parklets in downtown, similar to the successful Pavement to Parks program in San Francisco.

This has been a fun place-making exercise and it’s been great to see the community’s response. Hopefully this will push the idea of a permanent parklet in Sebastopol a bit further.

Sebastopol PARK(ing) Day at West County Cycle Services

Sebastopol PARK(ing) Day at West County Cycle Services

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Cittaslow Sebastopol is exploring a method of encouraging people to walk to various destinations around town in order to ‘reduce traffic and help make Sebastopol a more walk-friendly community.’ Dubbed ‘The Sebastopol Ped Line‘ they have designed 3 different walks that begin and end at the downtown plaza and loop you through the surrounding neighborhoods.

The Blue Line to Ives Park

The Blue Line to Ives Park

The Blue Line takes you to Ives Park, Sebastopol’s ‘Central Park’. Ives Park has a public pool, playgrounds, baseball field and picnic areas. It is in need of a serious facelift which the city has recognized in the adoption of a master plan for the renovation of the park, but it functions well enough for an urban park. The park is used for a variety of festivals throughout the year including the Apple Blossom Festival, Roma Festival and this weekends Renaissance Faire to benefit the public school district.

The Florence Avenue Art Walk

The Florence Avenue Art Walk

The Red Line takes you to Florence Avenue, home of sculptures by local artists and Florence Ave. residents Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent, passing city hall and the library on the way. The most common question I get from visitors to Sebastopol is ‘How do I get to Florence Ave./the street with the sculptures? Now instead of describing the route I can tell them to follow the signs of the Red Line.

Florence Avenue Art Walk Sidewalk Stencil

Florence Avenue Art Walk Sidewalk Stencil

The Green Line takes you from the plaza, through The Barlow and to the community center which sits in a park on the edge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. In summer months there is a floating bridge that takes you across the laguna to trails on the opposite bank. On the way back to the plaza the route passes the skate park, community garden and police station.

The project is currently in its trial period. There are temporary signs attached to light posts, street signs, etc. and sidewalk stencils providing directions along the route. Cittaslow Sebastopol is soliciting input on the project through a survey. The plan is to apply for funding to make the signage more permanent and support an online application.

In general I think it’s a great way to make residents and visitors alike more aware of how easy it is to get around town. One comment I plan on making is that I think it would be helpful to have distances in minutes to get to various destinations. I know that each destination is no more than 10 minutes from the plaza, but visitors, and some residents, wouldn’t necessarily know this from looking at the maps. The concept is similar to Walk Your City and I hope it will encourage people to get out of their cars, get some exercise and explore our community on foot.

Green Line to the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Sebastopol Village Building Convergence Announcement

Green Line to the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Sebastopol Village Building Convergence Announcement

This photo is a good segue to another placemaking event that begins in Sebastopol today and runs through September 21. The Sebastopol Village Building Convergence will bring a variety of placemaking events to Sebastopol including the creation of street murals, community gardening projects and other community building events. The full schedule is here.

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