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Posts Tagged ‘Parklets’

The Parklet Project was a success! We set up 3 parklets on Main Street and blocked a section of street to create a pop-up plaza last Saturday. The 3 Main Street parklets were all of the same design; plywood floors on sleepers to align with the sidewalk, and OSB walls to offer some separation from the adjacent traffic.

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The 3 parklets were customized by the adjacent businesses, or by The Core Project for the parklet in front of the bike shop. People were really interested in what we were doing and most feedback was favorable. There is a severe lack of pedestrian space on Main Street, and the parklets offered the opportunity to relax and have a conversation, or catch up on some reading, out of the flow of pedestrian traffic along the sidewalk.

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Being a small town, you invariably run into someone you know while walking downtown. When you stop to chat you end up blocking the sidewalk. A parklet gives you an opportunity to step aside and carry on your conversation without blocking the flow. And the walls of the parklet gave a surprising amount of separation from the adjacent traffic lanes. They really had a cozy feeling to them.

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The fourth parklet was really more of a plaza. We realized that shade was a premium for this space as it was a relatively warm day. Once we repositioned the umbrellas we had, and re-located several from the Main Street parklets people were more apt to populate the space. And as more people ventured to Screamin’ Mimi’s later in the afternoon, the pop-up plaza really came alive.

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parklet 6The event showed that people will use more space, when we give them more space, and that the space allowed for spontaneous interactions. One parklet even hosted a birthday party (my wife and several friends brought down a cake for my birthday, to my surprise) that resulted in sharing birthday cake with passersby.

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Several businesses expressed interest in creating permanent parklets. I’m hoping this event showcasing what could be will inspire one or more of them to create something more permanent.

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The Core Project and the City of Sebastopol are sponsoring The Parklet Project, tomorrow, Saturday, April 29th. The Core Project has been working to bring parklets to Sebastopol and was instrumental in getting the city to adopt an ordinance to allow their development. We have participated in PARK(ing) day several times and sponsored a lecture by Robin Abad Ocubillo from San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program to introduce the community to the idea and the benefits parklets have shown to have in San Francisco.

For those not familiar with parklets, the idea is simply to convert a street parking space to a space for people. Parklets provide for an expansion of the sidewalk for places to stop, rest and relax. It is one way to reclaim part of the public realm for people.

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Sebastopol PARK(ing) Day park on Main Street

The Parklet Project will consist of 3 parklets on Main Street and the creation of a plaza from a strange underutilized section of street for one day. The 3 Main Street parklets will be at The Gypsy Cafe/Sebastopol Cookie Company, Retrograde Coffee Roasters and West County Cycle Services. The blocked street is in front of Screamin’ Mimi’s ice cream shop, Glass Fusion and Pottery Too, and Thrive Yoga.

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The Parklet Project Locations

As downtown Sebastopol sits at the intersection of two state highways we applied for and received a Caltrans encroachment permit for the event. We’re hoping that this project will show the community the benefits of parklets and in improving the pedestrian realm which is dominated by cars. And we hope that it makes it easier to get an encroachment for a more permanent parklet from Caltrans in the future.

So if you are anywhere near Sebastopol, come by and check out the parklets tomorrow. Sit, relax, converse, support our local businesses and imagine a more people-friendly downtown Sebastopol.

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Standardized Parklet Project Design

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The Parklet Project Apple Blossom Festival Parade Entry, April 22, 2017.

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