Almost two years ago, it seemed like parklets, those patio-like little parks carved out of one to three parking spaces, were going to be the Next Big Thing in Boston streetscapes. The green spaces were due to bloom in spots throughout town as private money melded with public to create one mini-urban oasis after another, each happily affirming the city's pivot from a dependency on cars.
The first couple of Boston parklets, however, "flopped" as Paul McMorrow describes it in Tuesday's Boston Globe. They were "a pair of poorly designed, poorly located structures" (one, at 141 Portland Street outside of North Station, is pictured above). There is still time and precedent for the concept to take hold.
First, other municipalities in the region have pulled it off successfully. Second, parklets work, especially for nearby retailers. See New York per McMorrow: "Retailers along the city's first protected, signalized bike lanes — lanes that cost some on-street parking spaces, and moved the remaining spaces off the curb — saw a 49 percent bump in sales. Retail vacancies fell. Local shops around one Brooklyn pedestrian plaza, built atop a former parking triangle, saw sales soar by 170 percent."
Could we yet see a parklet boomlet in Boston? Especially now that the weather is consistently pleasant? Stay tuned.
· Parklets a Lively Lure to Downtowns [Globe]
· Bloodless Coup in Boston! Car Overthrown as City's King! [Curbed Boston]
· A Parklet Grows in Boston [Curbed Boston]
· Our Curbed's Could Have Been archive [Curbed Boston]