Parklets planned in several Boston neighborhoods this summer
June 13, 2014
Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) is installing four parklets in Boston this summer in Roslindale, Jamaica Plain and Allston/Brighton, for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. BTD is also supporting and assisting with the implementation of an additional parklet in Audubon Circle that is being designed, built, and maintained through the efforts of The Parkolation Project, an educational program involving students from the Boston Green Academy.
“Parklets are a simple and creative way to activate neighborhood centers, encourage community interactions, and create more seasonal outdoor space,” said Mayor Walsh. “Everyone is welcome in Boston’s parklets, whether it is to socialize with neighbors or to relax in the summer sun.”
The four parklets will be outfitted with tables and chairs and will remain in place into the fall. The locations include:
- 27 Corinth Street, Roslindale Village
- 174 Harvard Avenue, Allston Village
- 736 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston
- Hyde Square/Centre Street, Jamaica Plain
A thorough public process that included several community meetings was undertaken by BTD, in partnership with Boston Main Streets, to garner support for the parklets, and to identify local businesses to act as partners and to perform day to day maintenance of the parklets. Local businesses that have agreed to become parklet partners for BTD’s parklets are Fornax Bakery in Roslindale, @Union Café in Allston Village and Pavement Coffee in Brighton. The City of Boston appreciates the community spirit shown by these parklet partners.
Space for each parklet is created by extending a platform and/or seating area into the parking lane of the street in close proximity to the parklet partner’s business. Parklets utilize an area the size of one to two curbside parking spaces. Kyle Zick Landscape Architects created the Roslindale and Jamaica Plain parklets using cedar planks and metal accent materials. The Allston Village and Brighton parklets, created by Interboro Partners, are being constructed using seven foot long lego type blocks made of durable plastic molds.
“I’d like to thank the community groups that played an active role in helping BTD to bring these innovative and unique outdoor public spaces to Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Interim Boston Transportation Department Commissioner James E. Gillooly. “I would also like to express BTD’s gratitude to our parklet partners. Their cooperation is vital to the sustainability of the parklet program.”
The Audubon Circle parklet will be the first such installation built through The Parkolation Project, an educational program spearheaded by VSA Massachusetts. With technical assistance from the Boston Architectural College and the Copley Wolff Design Group, high school students from the Boston Green Academy have worked all year to design and build the parklet of their dreams. This particular parklet will be outfitted with solar tiles created by MIT students and start-up Sistine Solar. The tiles will power cell phone chargers and lighting on the structure. In addition to the City of Boston, other supporters of this project include parklet partner Mei Mei Restaurant, volunteers from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Boston Foundation, and the Boston Foundation for Architecture.
Parklets are public spaces. In cities across the country, they now play an important role in neighborhood placemaking, providing centrally located places in busy urban locations for people to sit and socialize in an attractive, well maintained outdoor living space. They usually are located where narrow sidewalks prevent the establishment of sidewalk cafes. Although they generally are located in areas with moderate to high pedestrian traffic, they also provide a fresh interest in the surrounding area by attracting people to Main Streets Districts. Parklets enliven local streets and generate business activity, and often prove to be an economic benefit to the local area.