PARK(ing) and Parklet Day: Reclaiming the Curb for People

Tomorrow, at locations all over the Bay Area, people will reclaim the curb for PARK(ing) Day and re-imagine slices of the urban landscape usually reserved for automobile parking. It will also mark a milestone for San Francisco’s groundbreaking Pavement to Parks program, as the interagency effort to transform parking spaces into parklets shifts focus to empower residents.

Andres Power, the project manager for Pavement to Parks, said he will no longer be involved in building parklets, except for the four remaining projects in Noe Valley and North Beach, but has worked with other city departments to develop a permit process that will allow anyone to apply and do it on their own.

Initially, he’s sending out a request for proposals [pdf] that contains all the information, including the design and placement guidelines, and a flier residents can pass out to businesses.

“The intent, at this point, is to select at least 20 or so projects, depending on how many responses we get,” said Power, who has already received about 100 emails from people who want parklets in their neighborhoods.

The pilot parklets at Cafe Revolution in the Mission and Mojo Bicycle Cafe on Divisadero have been wildly successful. Last year, a number of parklets were created for PARK(ing) Day to demonstrate how converting space for autos can enliven a street and business, providing a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the city, especially in neighborhoods cursed with narrow sidewalks.

Kit Hodge of the Great Streets Project is calling tomorrow Parklet Day. She is encouraging residents who want to see more parklets grace the streets to get busy handing out the fliers to businesses.

“We’re no longer in the what if, wouldn’t it be great phase. We’re doing it, both with parklets and on-street bike parking corrals,” said Hodge, who pointed out that a number of businesses around the city will be demonstrating parklets tomorrow. A complete list has been compiled by SPUR [pdf]. Both Hodge and Power are planning a parklet workshop at SPUR at 12:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, meanwhile, plans to set up shop near the on-street bike parking corral in front of Boogaloos Cafe on Valencia Street at 22nd, and will be passing out this flier [pdf] to bicyclists who’d like their favorite businesses to request a corral for free.

Across the Bay Area, a number of activities are planned for Park(ing) Day in Oakland, San Jose and many other cities. You can find a map on the official PARK(ing) Day website.

Michele Beasley of Greenbelt Alliance is working with several groups in San Jose, including the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition and the San Jose Parks Foundation, to create PARK(ing) spaces throughout San Jose.

“When there are more parking spaces for cars than parks for people, we need to reconsider how cities grow and develop. PARK(ing) Day allows us to demonstrate that need,” said Beasley.

Please send us your PARK(ing) Day photos tomorrow! Email tips@sf.streetsblog.org or add them to our Flickr pool.