Fairfax officials are looking into experimenting with a parklet, a small urban park in the space of a parallel parking spot in the downtown area.
Would that be welcomed in the Old Town section of Novato?
Parklets, which are becoming increasingly common in San Francisco and other cities, include seating and sometimes planter-box 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.
Town officials will work with Fairfax 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 Novato, there has been mixed reaction over the past few years since trees were planted in selected diagonal parking spaces along Grant Avenue. Some people like the aesthetic value of the streetscape makeover, and others have complained that the trees have taken away spots for potential shoppers.
According to the San Francisco Pavement to Parks parklet permit in the attached staff report, parklets are “intended to provide space for people to sit and relax and enjoy the city around them, especially where narrow sidewalks would otherwise preclude such activities. They are intended to be seen as a piece of street furniture, providing aesthetic enhancement to the overall streetscape.”
Some cities that have experimented with parklets have said they attract more foot traffic, leading to a boost in commerce. Another idea being bounced around: shutting down vehicular traffic on Grant once in a while to open it up to pedestrians. Anybody else have ideas that might spark revenue for Old Town businesses?