SDOT Announces Seattle’s First “Parklet” Sites
SEATTLE – Helping activate city streets and increase gathering spaces within neighborhoods, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will launch its pilot Parklet Program this summer with the opening of three “parklets” sponsored by nearby businesses.
Based on businesses’ requests, the first two parklets are proposed for installation in Belltown and Capitol Hill in August, with the Chinatown/International District parklet to follow later in the summer. The Belltown parklet is sponsored by City Hostel Seattle and would be located at 2327 Second Avenue, while the 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.
Parklets are small-scale public spaces built adjacent to sidewalks within on-street parking spots. Available for use by all, these spaces function as an extension of the sidewalk and provide seating, landscaping and other public amenities. Parklets are intended to activate streets, increase community gathering spaces, encourage walking and biking, and support local businesses.
“We’ve received several requests from businesses to set up parklets and we’re happy to meet their needs,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “This can be a great way to improve conditions for our neighborhood business districts.”
Parklets have been successful in enhancing the public realm in other US cities and are widely recognized as a cost-effective tool for creating vibrant neighborhoods. San Francisco formally launched its parklet program in 2010 and currently has nearly 40 installed parklets. The program there has led to increased foot traffic and more active streets near businesses. Other cities that have established parklet programs, including Los Angeles and Vancouver, have seen similar results.
After the City of Seattle received numerous requests from businesses to permit parklets in Seattle’s public right-of-way, the City’s Public Space Management Task Force identified parklets as a high priority program area. Implementation of the pilot Parklet Program is SDOT’s first step in addressing this program area.
“We’ve been watching businesses with parklets in other cities for a while and knew that this was something we felt compelled to do if there was ever an opportunity,” said Rachel Marshall, co-owner of Montana Bar on Capitol Hill. “We love this neighborhood, this community, so much. The chance to add a dynamic, engaging public space – to bring a unique gathering place to our own curb – was too much to pass up.”
Parklet design, permitting, construction and maintenance costs are funded entirely by the parklet applicants. The parklet sponsors have proposed designs for unique parklets that reflect the character of their surrounding neighborhood.
As part of the permitting process, SDOT is reviewing the parklet designs and will ensure that the proposed structures comply with safety and mobility standards while making a positive contribution to public life. The parklets in the pilot program will be evaluated throughout the summer and fall to assess how well they serve communities and neighborhood businesses before a full permitting program is considered.
A public comment period on the first two projects will run from July 25 through August 8, 2013. The public is invited to view the parklet designs at www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets.htm and share their comments on the projects by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to:
Additionally, SDOT has completed the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) evaluation for the pilot Parklet Program and the SEPA Determination of Non-Significance is available for public comment from July 24 through August 7, 2013. SEPA materials are also available on the program website, at www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets.htm.