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Think 'Parklets' Would be Embraced in Downtown?

Town officials are looking into turning a parallel parking space into a public space with seating and giving it a temporary try for six months to a year. Do you like the concept of a parklet?

Fairfax Town officials are looking into experimenting with a parklet – or a small urban park in the space of a parallel parking spot – in downtown Fairfax.

Parklets, which are becoming increasingly common in San Francisco and other cities, include seating and possibly vegetation, bicycle parking or tables.

“Parklets take a parking space and make public space,” Jim Moore, Fairfax Director of Planning, told the Fairfax Town Council at its Nov. 7 meeting.

The Fairfax Planning Commission created an ad-hoc subcommittee that’s working on a pilot parklet project.

“The idea, in the spirit of Fairfax and volunteerism, is to make it fun,” Moore said.

The committee has been meeting with the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and looking into testing a parklet at a temporary location for six months to a year. 

Town officials will work with local business to determine the exact placement of the parklet and to see if any want to sponsor it or help with the design or implementation.

“We are hoping to get a collaborative relationship from sponsors and to reach out to businesses so there are no feathers ruffled,” Moore said.

In San Rafael, the availability of parking is a hotly contested issue whenever new projects come through review. Supporters of parklets say the spaces could draw more pedestrians, something many downtown businesses want.

On our Facebook fan page, we asked if parklets would be embraced in downtown or other parts of San Rafeal.

"We need more outdoor spaces for eating, etc...why not?" Grant Raeside posted.

"Absolutely," Brent Segura-Bowers posted.

What do you think about parklets? Do you think parklets would bring more pedestrians to downtown?  Tell us your opinion in the comments.

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      Andy Griffiths November 19, 2012 at 03:43 PM
      I support the park let concept. This is a great way to generate pedestrian street. It's critical to locate these where there is ample sunlight and proximity to cafes. Another critical issue is maintaining the structures. There are probably lessons to learn from the parklets in sf's mission district which have been in place for a couple years already. andysgriffiths@gmail.com
      David Edmondson November 19, 2012 at 07:09 PM
      Though I'd much rather Third Street's parking spaces become a cycle track (i.e., this: http://sanrafael.patch.com/blog_posts/a-radical-proposal-for-biking-in-san-rafael ), I think they could work either there or on Fourth. It would be another boost to downtown San Rafael's commercial sector.
      Lothrop Withington Jr. November 20, 2012 at 12:27 AM
      I think the idea behind these is that they are intended to be in major urban cities where public green space is sparse. I frankly don't see the point in putting one in a place like San Rafael, San Anselmo or especially Fairfax, where parks and open space are rather plentiful and in relatively close proximity. But in FiDi or SoMA? Totally makes sense.
      J D Harris November 20, 2012 at 09:06 AM
      BAD idea for downtown San Rafael until the city gets a grip on the increasing problem of the drunken, sometimes violent individuals from Ritter House, SV Dining Room, the numerous group homes, etc. who constantly roam downtown streets harrassing law-abiding citizens and business patrons. Without constant police foot patrols, these "parklets" would simply be taken over by these transients. Developing these would be a complete waste of taxpayer money. I like to support downtown SR but I've mostly given up going there because of all the scum strolling the streets. As a lifelong city resident, I find it sad to see what our civic "leaders" have let happen. SRPD needs to have a greater presence downtown. Imo, the vermin causing all the problems downtown should be put on a GG Transit bus and deposited in SF where there are better services.
      Andy Griffiths November 20, 2012 at 03:30 PM
      Why Would you give up on improving small downtowns? I don't see the wisdom of ruling out interesting urban additions to a town because of concerns about the transient population. I think there should be some enforcement to maintain a safe clean "parklet". I hate to think we would throw the towel in on any new clever ideas for the community. Andy G

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