Tag Archives: parklets

Berkeley’s first 2 parklets to open this fall

An artist's conception of the new parklet in front of Philz Coffee and Guerilla Cafe. Photo courtesy of the North Shattuck Association.
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Sometime in the early fall, coffee-sippers and pizza-eaters may find themselves sitting outside at one of Berkeley’s two new parklets.

If all things go to plan, the first one is set to open in front of the Cheese Board Collective at 1520 Shattuck Ave. in the city’s Gourmet Ghetto, according to the North Shattuck Association’s Executive Director Heather Hensley. A second parklet will open in front of Philz Coffee at 1600 Shattuck, and at Guerilla Café (1620 Shattuck) soon after. They will be maintained by the adjacent businesses but will be open to non-customers too.

No bigger than a few parking spaces, these miniature urban parks are extensions of the existing sidewalk and provide additional seating and green space for pedestrians. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley parklets stir up excitement, apprehension

The parklet at 40th St. in Oakland. Photo: City of Oakland.
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The Berkeley City Council voted last week to bring a new pilot “parklets” program one step closer to city streets. The program, which would create miniature public parks in unused bus stops, parking spaces, or other “dedicated public right-of-way” space, has been eagerly awaited by many merchants in Berkeley.

According to the staff report prepared for the meeting, “Parklets are publicly accessible space for the enjoyment and use of all citizens, and are privately constructed and maintained. It is envisioned that the Parklets will be located in areas with pedestrian activity, as additional seating areas for retail patrons, and in areas where there is a desire to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.”

The item was set for discussion Tuesday night but was instead moved to the consent calendar by Councilman Laurie Capitelli. Prior to the vote, Councilman Jesse Arreguín reinforced the idea that parklets are public space and can be used by anyone. They are, after all, extensions of the sidewalk, as pointed out by Eric Angstadt, the city’s planning director. Angstadt spoke briefly about the issue, noting that it is the responsibility of businesses that sponsor parklets to ensure the space remains open to the public. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley officials get closer to public ‘parklet’ policy

A parklet in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood. Photo: San Francisco Pavement to Parks
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The Berkeley City Council could consider approving a three-year pilot program later this summer to allow businesses to set up parklets in still-to-be-determined locations around town.

So-called parklets — small pockets of open space that are sprouting up in cities around the globe — are a big trend in urban design, with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks leading the way locally, and Oakland later following suit. Berkeley has, in recent years, been considering its own ideas to beautify public areas where community members can congregate.

The city began looking at parklets in 2011, and initially had planned to begin building them in early 2012. The process has been sluggish, at least in part, because the city does not have a permitting process in place, and several city agencies — including public works, engineering and transportation — have needed to weigh in. … Continue reading »

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North Berkeley merchants want parklets for the people

A parklet in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood. Photo: San Francisco Pavement to Parks
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Businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto are keen to jump on the parklet bandwagon — bringing outdoor seating to the streets for espresso sippers, pizza eaters, and world watchers in lieu of parking spots — but must first wait for the city to come up with a process for making the spaces available.

So-called parklets — slivers of open space sprouting in cities around the globe — are a big trend in urban design, with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks leading the way locally, and Oakland following suit (a pilot program is under review there.) Berkeley is a little late to the take-back-the-public-space movement but eager to come up with its own ideas to beautify public areas where community members can congregate. Leading the charge is the North Shattuck Association, which is helping businesses in its café- and restaurant-heavy district organize around the concept.

“The parklets pilot project was conceived by the association based on our experience with hosting temporary parklets during past years on Park(ing) Day and the Spice of Life Festival,” said Heather Hensley, executive director of the association.

Park(ing) Day is an international movement conceived to help city residents around the world reimagine the humble parking space. One day each fall, D.I.Y., creative urbanistas are encouraged to transform parking spots into parks, playgrounds, pop-up cafés — anything other than a lowly (though coveted) place for cars. Park(ing) Day parklets have sprouted in Berkeley in past years in front of the Cheese Board Collective and the late Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Food. … Continue reading »

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