Friday, July 12, 2013

City will support 'parklets'

The City of Cincinnati will pursue a pilot "parklet" program, centered around Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

Parklets are typically the temporary use of parking spaces, bus stops, or other spaces for parks, green space, or other occupation within the public right-of-way. The public spaces are privately maintained, and meter fees will continue to apply.

The idea has best been represented by PARK(ing) Day, which has been held in Cincinnati since 2009.

The City picked up on the trend in a January 5, 2013 motion by six councilmembers, who advanced the idea following the February 5, 2013 meeting of City Council's Strategic Growth Committee.

Specifically, the motion asked City administration to develop criteria for a pilot program for temporary parklet installations that would be created and maintained by community groups. The groups would be charged with developing requirements for dimensions, construction, safety, and access; plans for maintenance and operation; guidelines for design; and identification of appropriate sites.

To qualify, an applicant must submit a preliminary application based upon technical feasibility and organizational capacity. If approved, the applicant must submit professionally certified design plans.

Any plan for a parklet must gain the approval of its neighborhood community council. Criteria include a low traffic speed street, typically with a 25 mile per hour speed limit, less than 5,000 vehicles per day, and where peak-hour parking is prohibited; a location that's not located in front of fire hydrants, driveways, or other encumbrances; on streets under a 5 percent grade; and on streets not scheduled for construction.

The City's Department of Transportation and Engineering (DOTE) will administer the program and supervise the permitting process, and it will be permitted under the City's Revocable Street Privilege process and DOTE's Right of Way use permit.

The parklet initiative follows similar initiatives in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Oakland.

Photo credit: Freewheel Parklet on Valencia Street in San Francisco. "SFParklet.jpg" by SaltyBoatr, Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 2.0 license.