Parklet will move this year

HYDE SQ.—Even though Boston Transportation Department (BTD) is ready to bring back Jamaica Plain’s parklet, that won’t happen at its original location this year due to utility work on Centre Street. Instead, BTD is looking for alternate locations in Hyde Square and in the Centre/South corridor.

The parklet debuted last year outside Old Havana Restaurant and Sonia’s Bridal & Quinceañera at 349 Centre St.

A parklet is a small, semi-permanent public space that resembles a deck, created from two to three parking spaces. They’re intended to provide sidewalk seating for businesses and are maintained by them. Jamaica Plain’s parklet was one of the first in the city, part of a pilot program.

BTD Director of Planning Vineet Gupta told the Gazette that JP’s parklet will return to its 349 Centre St. location when National Grid and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) finishes moving utility lines on Centre Street in Hyde Square. But that won’t be until next spring.

He added this week that BTD is working with Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets (HJSMS) to locate an alternate location in Hyde Square. In case that won’t work, Gupta said BTD will then look for another location in the Centre/South streets corridor.

“We’re very keen to keep the parklet in that section [Hyde Square] of JP,” Gupta said.

Meanwhile, the owner of parklet partner business Old Havana Restaurant was unaware that the parklet would not return to her doorstep this year.

“We had a meeting [with HJSMS and BTD] two months ago,” owner Wendy Tejeda told the Gazette this week. “They said, ‘Yes, the parklet is coming back in May.’ We were waiting for that. Lots of people saw it last year” and have been asking when it would return, she said.

“It’s too long a time [to wait for the parklet’s return]. It’ll affect the business,” Tejeda’s husband and restaurant manager Sixto Lopez said.

A Gazette phone call to Gerald Robbins, executive director of HJSMS, was not immediately returned.

It is unclear how the construction is impacting the parklet’s location. The work is occurring on the opposite side of Centre Street, and the parking spaces used by the parklet were open during a Gazette visit this week.

Peter Salvatore, the BWSC engineer in charge of the project, told the Gazette last week that the City must wait for NStar to finish work on gas lines in the area before it can start its own utility work and that BWSC does not expect to finish its upgrades before spring 2015.

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