Solving Cities

Boston trades parking spots for parklets

Posting in Cities

Boston is using parklets to create more public space in the city.

Boston is taking to the streets to increase the amount of public space in the city.

Using parking spaces and underutilized roadways, the city plans to create new parklets (mini-parks), according to the Boston Globe.

Here are some examples of different ways these tiny parks are used in San Francisco's parklet program:

For cafe seating:

For bike parking:

As a public gathering space:

The parklets will cost about $12,000 each to build. But the city will partner with local business owners to help with the cost. One business owner, Ken Hassett, is already on board. The Boston Globe reports:

As a business owner, Hassett said he likes adding a colorful, informal swath of outdoor seating near Wholy Grain, tucked into the first floor of a classic brick rowhouse at Shawmut Avenue and Hanson Street. As a resident who lives a few paces away, he likes what it promises to do for pedestrian life.

"Some of the people I’ve spoken to so far were slightly hesitant about, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose a parking space,’" Hassett said. "But then they began to think about it and think what a novel idea it would be."

It might seem counterintuitive at first that eliminating car parking could be good for business, but if more people are lingering around your business or can reach your business -- because more people can park their bikes in a spot than a car can park in a single spot -- it's a benefit.

If you're worried that car parking will be greatly compromised by this program, there are about 8,000 metered parking spots in the city. To put that into perspective, San Francisco, which has an official city parklet program, has 30 parklets.

Photos via Flickr (from top to bottom): geekstinkbreathsfbikejeremyashawthrogers

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure