Spotted: Super-parklet on 40th St

Our eyes are ever-peeled for cool sites and sights. Here’s one we spotted this week:

University City District is Philadelphia’s biggest parklet booster, building and finding partners to help tend these wee public spaces carved out of in-street parking spots.

This month University City District (UCD) and Shift_Design partnered to create the biggest parklet in the city along 40th Street just north of Walnut Street.

The new parklet measures 60-feet long and six-feet wide, and that makes it the largest seasonal parklet in the world.

The size of the parklet is a reflection of an opportunity presented by four businesses that all recently opened – Dunkin Donuts, Hai Street Kitchen & Co., Zesto Pizza and Grill, and Jake’s Sandwich Board – in a new building at an already busy commercial hub.

UCD has installed a handful of parklets each fair-weather season over the last four years, and it’s studied their impact closely. Their research reveals that University City’s parklets function as flexible public spaces can amplify public life by providing new areas for casual socializing and that can result in increase sales for nearby businesses. University City District expects its newest parklet to do well given the already active setting, strong foot traffic, and natural shade.

Shift_Design, which has previously collaborated with UCD on other public projects, fabricated this parklet, . You might recognize the bike rack at the parklet as a cousin of the ones Shift created for Shake Shack’s bike corral.

The 40th Street parklet features fixed a mix of seating zones:  wooden benches, nine sets of movable bistro tables and chairs, and two barstools. Alternating high and low metal planters create environments within the parklet and are the functionally pretty barrier between street traffic and the parklet zone.

In a way the low-slung metal design nicely frames the new businesses on the other side of the sidewalk.

Just don’t look too closely at the depressingly poor excuse for architecture behind the parklet. Can’t remember what was demolished to create this single-story box? This.

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