Rethinking the park in parking spaces

Parking spaces don’t have to be consigned to cars. The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) is ready to help businesses and organizations reclaim in-street parking for bike corrals and parklets citywide this summer after seeing some successful pilot projects in late 2011.

In August 2011, the University City District and MOTU celebrated the opening two parklets in University City – raised platforms with planters and seating in the place of parking spaces. Back in September, I wrote about the funny car-shaped bike corral parked on Sydenham just below Walnut Street. It was installed by the Bicycle Coalition for Park(ing) Day 2011, but thanks to steady use and a bit of fundraising, the corral has become part of the streetscape.

Parklet Season Opens

A parklet outside of the Green Line Cafe.
(A parklet outside of the Green Line Cafe.)

Parklets are essentially about adding a seasonal public space amenity out of a humble street parking space. They provide a place to hang out and watch a neighborhood’s street life go by.

Think your neighborhood could use a parklet? MOTU is inviting community groups to apply for permission to build parklets citywide out of two parking spaces. Interested groups need to demonstrate community support, and should be able to maintain the parklet once built.

There are precise design guidelines in the thorough parklet RFP [pdf], and any locations proposed must be approved by the Streets Department. MOTU will help interested groups to make sure that parklets are designed with safety and quality in mind.

Once approved, MOTU will help community groups work with the Streets Department and Parking Authority during three rounds of installation this summer, starting June 1.

As an added incentive, MOTU will provide up to $5,000 to interested groups to help foot the bill for creating a new parklet. Ask MOTU’s Ariel Ben-Amos your questions about parklets via email or by calling (215) 686-9001.

The application deadline is Friday May 4, 2012.

Corral Those Bikes

A bike corral on Broad Street.
(A bike corral on Broad Street.)

There are lots of places where bike parking is at a premium where you can see bikes chained to anything that won’t move. If you know of one of those hot spots, maybe it’s time to apply for a bike corral – designated bike parking that can hold up to 12 bicycles.

MOTU will start accepting applications from businesses and organizations to use one in-street parking space for a bike corral in front of their building. In addition to completing an application [pdf] and meeting certain space/location criteria, applicants need the support of their district council member. It’s also important to show how your corral proposal will help meet high unmet demand for bike parking.

The best part: MOTU will award 10 racks for free.

Applications are due May 30, 2012, via email or post to MOTU’s Aaron Ritz (1401 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1430, Philadelphia PA 19102).

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