Planning a Parklet
A brief guide to the typical steps involved in bringing your vision for a parklet into reality.
Your first step in the planning process is to seek all relevant local information. Try searching ‘CITY_NAME Parklet Program’ in your web browser. In a number of municipalities, public authorities such as the Department of Transportation have introduced ‘Parklet Programs’ and have produced comprehensive brochures detailing the application and approval process, fees, site and design considerations and ongoing maintenance requirements for their specific localities. But you’ll find that the approval process and criteria differs city by city, so always try to obtain local information.
Apart from the Department of Transportation, other common city departments that control parklet or street seating programs are the Bureau of Planning, Office of Strategic Planning, Department of Public Works, Office of Planning, and Bureau of Transportation. If you are struggling to find information about parklets in your area, we suggest starting with any one of these local departments.
When searching for local information, be aware that public parklets are sometimes referred to as Walklets, Pedestrian Plazas, Curbside Seating, Street Seats (NYC and Portland), and People Spots (Chicago).
Photo credit: “Parklets”, © 2012 Cidades para Pessoas, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
Once you have gained local support for your proposed parklet and checked with local authorities that a parklet would be permitted in your locality in principle, you need to pay special attention to any regulations specifying where they can be positioned and what factors might influence the outcome of your permit application.
Proximity to existing city utilities, bus zones, handicap parking zones, intersections and street corners, nearby driveways and mature trees is all taken into account, as well as the slope and crown of the street, speed limit, one vs two way traffic, accessibility by disabled persons, water drainage, space for safety buffer zones, future streetscape projects anticipated by the city, and finally the opinions of those who believe they would be impacted both negatively and positively by your proposed parklet.