Parklets are coming to Seattle!

Parks in parking spaces? That’s right, and they’re coming to Seattle!

San Francisco has nearly 40 parklets which attract people of all ages.  Photo by San Francisco Planning Department.

San Francisco has nearly 40 parklets which attract people of all ages.  Photo by San Francisco Planning Department.

The newly-formed Public Space Management Program at SDOT is getting ready to kickoff the Pilot Parklet Program this summer with parklets opening in Belltown, Capitol Hill, and Chinatown/International District. The parklet program website explains what parklets could look like in Seattle and how these public spaces will serve Seattle residents and businesses.

Parklets are structures that convert a portion of the public right-of-way into small-scale public spaces. These spaces are intended to activate streets, encourage walking and biking, and support local businesses. Parklets are just one of the many ways SDOT is rethinking the possibilities for the public right-of-way.

The first two parklets are proposed for installation in Belltown and Capitol Hill in August, with the Chinatown/International District parklet proposed to follow later in the summer. The Belltown parklet is sponsored by City Hostel Seattle and would be located at 2327 Second Avenue. Montana Bar is sponsoring the Capitol Hill parklet, located at 1506 E Olive Way. The Chinatown /International District Business Improvement Area is sponsoring the third parklet, which is planned for 421 Sixth Avenue S.

This conceptual rendering of the City Hostle Seattle parklet in Belltown shows seating (with retractable overhead canopies) in "living rooms," a theater-style seating area with risers and movable game cubes,  and landscaping.  By Boxwood.

This conceptual rendering of the City Hostle Seattle parklet in Belltown shows seating (with retractable overhead canopies) in “living rooms,” a theater-style seating area with risers and movable game cubes, and landscaping.  By Boxwood.

SDOT has published the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Non-Significance for the Pilot Parklet Program, and public comments are welcome between July 24 and August 7. Additionally, the SDOT public notice period for the Belltown and Capitol Hill parklets will run from July 25 to August 8. All materials for SEPA and the public notices are available on the new parklet program website. To comment, please send an email or letter to:

Seattle Department of Transportation
Attn: Public Space Management Program
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124

or  

jennifer.wieland@seattle.gov

If you’re interested in learning more about parklets, please visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets.htm.

Comments

  1. Arthur Wyatt says

    I hope you will be adding additional parking elsewhere and/or improving public transportation to the affected areas? Parking in Capitol Hill is already AWFUL.

    • SDOT Blog says

      We surveyed the parking in this area as part of the work. There are approximately 575 on-street parking spaces in the area bounded by Thomas Street to the north, Harvard Avenue to the east, Olive Street (east of Bellevue Avenue) and Pine Street (west of Bellevue Avenue) to the south, and I-5 to the west. With the proposed parklet taking 1.5 spaces, it is unlikely we will seek to add parking. Transit additions are not being considered as part of this work.

  2. PCLH says

    I think it’s a great idea, but doesn’t Seattle have lack of parking issues as it is, especially on Capitol Hill, and doesn’t that take away from parking revenue, and contribute to people camping out all day? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an idea like this, but I know there are some people who will literally turn it into their living rooms; homeless, panhandlers, etc. No disrespect…

    • pegNielsen says

      The Montana Bar parklet in Capitol Hill is in not in a paid parking zone, and the area around the parklet (bounded by Thomas St, Harvard Ave, I-5, and Olive Way and Pine St) has about 575 on-street parking spaces. So, converting just 1.5 spaces into a parklet will not have any noticeable impact on parking in the neighborhood. If you’re interested in more information about parking, you might want to take a look at pg. 17 of the SEPA checklist, which is available on the home page of our new website (http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets.htm).

      As part of our evaluation of the pilot program, we will be paying close attention to the ways that people are using the parklets. And the parklet sponsors—who are really the “eyes” of the program—will have a role in helping to make sure the spaces are full of positive uses as well. We expect the parklets to be places where people stop for a short amount of time as opposed to spending the day (or night) and the designs have been developed to encourage that type of activity. But again, we’ll be watching closely to see how well the spaces work in the different neighborhoods.

  3. pegNielsen says

    Thank you for your comment. Perhaps it would help to look at our gallery of parklets around the world in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Montreal.
    If you have questions, why not take a look at our parklet FAQ, and feel free to contact us if you still have questions.

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