Parklet program expands in Seattle

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 7:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 9 at 12:03 PM

Seattle transportation officials are expanding their parklet program, designed to convert parking spaces outside downtown businesses into public open space.

SDOT has announced that out of 14 applicants, 10 new businesses will host the new parklets out front as part of a pilot program.

Currently there is only one parklet in Seattle. Montana Bar on Capitol Hill uses the space for outdoor seating and public space.

City officials say the privately funded parklets activate streets, create vibrant neighborhoods, and support the economic vitality of retail and business districts.

But in an already congested city, the parklets are not sitting well with drivers.

"I don't feel like a strong lack of outdoor seating affects me like a lack of parking does," says Emile Grant, a Seattle driver.

Before selecting the new parklet sites, SDOT says it conducted studies to ensure the removal of the parking space would not impact the neighborhoods.

"We want to make sure that we do not damage the supply and availability of parking," says Jennifer Wieland, parklet program manager for the city of Seattle. "We do see parklets as a tremendous public benefit. Public open space is a great thing for neighborhoods."

There are currently 13,000 on-street paid parking spaces in Seattle.

The new parklets are scheduled to be installed sometime in the fall.

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