Hyde Sq. parklet design chosen

May 10, 2013
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Following two meetings with community partners that were open to the public, the design for the upcoming Hyde Square parklet has been chosen.

Landscape architect Kyle Zick, the designer of JP’s parklet, was directed by community partners to combine two design sketches that included non-movable stools and a counter with raised planters with built-in seating.

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. Hyde Square’s parklet will take up two parking spaces.

Jamaica Plain is slated to get one of Boston’s first four parklets on Centre Street, across from Wyman Street. It is expected to be in place by July, Boston Transportation Department (BTD) spokesperson Rachel Szakmary told the Gazette.

While the City is paying for the parklet’s design and construction, maintenance will be under the purview of community partners. In JP’s case, that will be restaurant Tacos El Charro and Sonia’s Bridal & Quinceañera.

The first of the two community design meetings, held last month, was not advertised. Szakmary did not respond to a Gazette email asking about the parklet’s budget or how members of the community can submit comments to BTD at this point. This meeting was scheduled with a week’s notice on a Friday morning.

Aside from the City’s team and partners from Sonia’s Bridal & Quinceañera and Tacos El Charro, the meeting was attended by the owner of Rizzo’s Pizza and another man who appeared to be affiliated with Tacos el Charro. According to Szakmary, Hyde/Jackson Main Streets Executive Director Gerald Robbins has also provided comments to the City about the plan.

The City did not advertise its April 22 meeting and has not presented to the neighborhood council since last June. BTD Director of Planning Vineet Gupta had previously told the Gazette that public input would be considered in the parklet’s design.

A meeting, held at Tacos El Charro on May 3, included a presentation of possible designs by Zick and feedback from community partners about the design. It was not attended by any members of the community not directly involved with the parklet.

When asked if the parklet would include a BigBelly trash can, Szakmary said a trash can could be planned for, but that the community partners “should not count on” getting a BigBelly because of the City’s arrangement with the New York-based advertising company that pays for their purchase and installation.

BigBelly trash cans are solar-powered trash compactors that have been installed in other parts of the city like Downtown Crossing and Mission Hill.

A parklet has been planned for JP since last June. It was first proposed for on or near Centre Street by Seaverns Avenue, before being moved to its Hyde Square location. It was also originally planned to be in place by March.

Zick said at the meeting that the parklet’s wooden decking would likely be patterned for visual interest. He added that he is looking at local murals and other decoration for inspiration.

“There’s a lot of variety in the neighborhood, a lot of inspiration for us to draw from,” Zick said.

According to Szakmary, the next step in getting the parklet installed involves the City and the designers meeting to coordinate their efforts.

“Then it’s off to the races,” she said—that is, construction and installation. “We’re very excited to get going.”

This article has been edited to clarify the meeting’s attendance and BTD’s public process.

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