Parklets are a brilliant use of existing infrastructure. The idea is simple. Convert an existing street parking space (or two) into an urban destination. This example from Long Beach was installed as an extension of the adjacent Lola’s restaurant dining area. The improvements cost about $20,000 and have been a boon for the restaurant which had no outdoor dining until the City offered this pilot program. This was the first of it’s kind in all of southern California and other Cities are struggling to keep pace with Long Beach. Los Angeles has 4 parklets in the planning phases.
Here in San Diego we have no such urban destinations.. At least not yet. North Park’s planning committee will be deciding today whether they will approve the installation of the City’s first parklet. With North Park’s recent designation as the nation’s thirteenth best hipster neighborhood by Forbes, they would be loath to turn down such an opportunity.
Over the past year I have been advocating the design and installation of a parklet for Hillcrest. I serve on the Board of Directors for the Hillcrest Business Association and am active in our Beautification Committee where I have floated the concept on multiple occasions. Several businesses have expressed an interest and we hope to further our discussions in the coming weeks and months. We have also been approached by North Park’s parklet planners in an effort to combine our resources.
I also serve on the Board of the Uptown Community Parking District, I’m sure some of our board members would take issue with the “loss” of parking but I don’t see it that way. When you create more urban destinations like these you increase foot traffic and diversify the modes of transportation people use like walking, biking and transit.
The race is on for San Diego’s first Parklet and Hillcrest had better get in the game!
Quick update.. The North Park Planning Committee voted unanimously to approve the parklet and two bike corrals at last night’s meeting. Well done North Park!!