Parklets: Sacramento wants 'uplifting habitat' in urban jungle

Published: Thursday, May. 15, 2014 - 1:11 pm

The city of Sacramento is asking business and property owners a novel question this week: Would you like to enliven the street scene on your block by turning a street parking spot or two into a communal patio where people can sit, chat, eat and drink?

The “parklet” concept, popular in San Francisco and other cities, is coming to Sacramento this fall if enough businesses are willing to put in the work to design and build them, and pay the $1,500 to $2,500 estimated cost for permits and fees for removal the parking meter, if there is one.

City Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents midtown and downtown, is among city officials with high hopes of creating what he calls “uplifting habitat” on a human-scale that can draw more people to hang out on business district streets. City officials are hoping to see six to 10 parklets built, each the size of one or two parking spaces.

Unlike restaurant or cafe patios, where tables are often pushed up against a wall, parklets offer breathing room, but need to be done right, Hansen said. Officials intend only to approve parklets for businesses who present a quality design.

“We want to make sure we give people the tools and opportunity to create great quality experiences,” he said. “We shouldn’t approve parklets that aren’t high quality in the right places, that provide the kind of viscerally pleasing place.”

City parking official Matt Winkler said he hopes to bring San Francisco landscape architect John Bela, one of the movement founders, to Sacramento May 28 to hold a workshop about what makes a good mini-park.

People interested in the program have until June 3 to submit an application to the city. For information, go to Winkler says he hopes someone comes up with a design so creative that it makes headlines.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

Read more articles by Tony Bizjak

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