Parklet progression in Philly

Philadelphia will soon be seeing more parklets in more neighborhoods.

The miniature boardwalks that can be installed curbside, in street parking spaces, debuted last summer in West Philadelphia.

They look like very small piers protruding from the sidewalk; they’re furnished with patio tables and chairs, and planters.

Last year the University City District installed the two West Philadelphia parklets in places that saw a fair amount of foot traffic — near Clark Park and on Lancaster Avenue near Drexel University. They were removed during the winter months.

UCD projects manager Nate Hommel says there have been problems reinstalling those two parks and a new one. First there were manufacturing delays, and then road maintenance.

“A tricky thing this year was that — a lot more than normal — a lot of resurfacing was going on near University City,” said Hommel. “Everywhere we wanted to put a parklet happened to be a place that was being resurfaced. That’s why we waited so late in the year.”

UCS commissioned five modular parklets to be built. Two are installed at 43rd and Baltimore Avenue, two are planned for 44th and Walnut. Hommel is still hunting for a home for the fifth.

The locations of the parklets were chosen in consultation with the city’s Street Department and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities. MOTU is now expanding the concept to other neighborhoods.

The Office of Tranportation offered $5,000 grants to neighborhood groups wanting to construct and install their own parklets. Proposals from civic groups in Chinatown, Logan Square, Fishtown, South of South Street, and Manayunk were chosen for their ability to add activity to the street, maintain traffic safety, and the reliability of the civic group. 

Many of those parklets will likely not be in place until after the summer months.

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