Pop-up parklets may come Sept. 21

September 14, 2012
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Boston Transportation Department (BTD) is allowing community members to claim parking spaces as temporary parklets on Sept. 21. This is a separate movement from the City’s parklet program, which is expected to create a semi-permanent parklet on Seaverns Avenue next year.

Sept. 21 observes “Park(ing) Day”, an international movement to reclaim parking spaces as temporary public parks for a day. Traditionally, community members create temporary parks or beaches from lawn furniture, towels, planters, umbrellas or similar equipment. It does not appear that JP has ever had a parklet before.

A parklet is a small, semi-permanent public space that resembles a deck, created from two to three parking spaces. It may include tables and chairs, bicycle parking or planters, among other options.

BTD spokesperson Rachel Szakmary told the Gazette last month that BTD is not organizing any permanent parklet one-day trials for Park(ing) Day on Sept. 21. She had previously said that a one-day trial would take place in Mission Hill during a meeting to discuss the City’s pilot parklet program.

“We’re encouraging people to be involved, [but] BTD isn’t organizing anything specific,” Szakmary told the Gazette.

BTD officials will be in attendance, Szakmary added.

Park(ing) Day pop-up parklets need to be permitted through BTD, BTD spokesperson Tracy Ganiatsos told the Gazette. No permits have been issued yet.

Park(ing) Day has been observed in Boston since 2008, Ganiatsos said. BTD has helped groups file for their permits, even though it “does not have any sort of official position,” she added.

The City plan for formal parklets will create a parklet on Seaverns Avenue next to Purple Cactus restaurant next year. The parklet would remain on site, occupying two 2-hour parking spaces, from March through November.

Four pilot parklets will be installed in the spring at the City’s expense in four neighborhoods, to the tune of $48,000. If they are well-received and the program expands, future parklets will be a joint effort between the City and business owners, as the Gazette has previously reported.

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