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Parklet Proposed for South Fourth Street

Walker Evans Walker Evans Parklet Proposed for South Fourth Street
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The temporary conversion of on-street metered parking spaces into public greenspace is not a new one. The national Park(ing) Day event launched in San Francisco in 2005, and Columbus officially took part in 2008 and 2009. Since then, the movement pushing for new Downtown greenspace has waned in part due to the completion of Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile.

But a team of enthusiasts are ready to bring the idea back in a spot in need of additional pedestrian-friendly park space: South Fourth Street, which is home to Dirty Frank’s, 16 Bit Bar+Arcade, Little Palace and El Camino Inn.

“Whenever I go to San Francisco, I always visit a parklet,” says organizer Jess Mathews. “The parklet has become a destination for me. That’s what we want for parklets here. We want these creative public spaces to draw people and become destinations for people.”

Officially known as the ‘Columbus Parklet Project’, the pop-up greenspace would only displace two parking meter spots and would accommodate outdoor seating for a dozen people, providing additional patio space to the collection of restaurants and bars that now call this area home.

“The businesses also on that stretch of Fourth are all supportive of the project and plan to help with promoting as well,” says Mathews. “The health of cities relies on ‘street life’. The Short North has incredible street life but that can’t be the only neighborhood in the city with that kind of vibrancy. It needs to be sprinkled all over.”

The Fourth Street parklet would be a temporary installation, serving as a pilot project for a month upon launching in late May or early June.

“This is a great ‘quick to implement’ project to give people a taste,” explained Mathews. “During the month of the pilot, we will collect data and pictures so that as we approach other neighborhoods to expand the project, we have the ability to tell a story. Ideally, we’d like to see parklets as another ingredient used in creating long-term transformations on our streets.”

Organizers of the Columbus Parklet Project are still in the process of raising permit funding. One fundraiser held at 16-Bit in February raised “a really good chunk” of the money needed, according to Mathews. A second fundraiser is planned for April.

For more information on the project, visit www.facebook.com/columbusparkletproject.

Renderings by Brianne DeRolph.

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  • jpizzow

    Very cool. The loss of one parking space should not be an issue. Temporary spaces like this can be flexible making for a “permanent” space that can be changed fairly easily keeping it fresh.

  • http://whattherock.com Liner Notes

    Cool idea in general, but I’d rather see it used more as park/green space than an expansion of patio space for the restaurants.

  • agolden

    Good point Liner Notes, that is actually the purpose of the Parklet, to expand public pedestrian space. The Parklet will not be extended patio space for the restaurants on that block.

  • aaronblevins

    Love the brains and hearts behind this project. We have such a great group of people in our city who aren’t willing to settle only for empty talk about good ideas. But rather, our people actually get out there and take massive action together to bring these good ideas to life. And that freaking pumps me up. This project a shining example of this and I can’t wait to see how it comes to life.

  • http://www.columbusunderground.com Walker

    Sorry if my patio wording was confusing. I didn’t mean that the parklet would literally be patio space managed/serviced by a restaurant or bar, but instead a more general use of the word patio — implying that visitors to these locations would have more sidewalk accommodations to utilize when hanging out in this area.

  • columbusmike

    Perfect location for this. However, the “tiki bar” look is, uh, a little tacky. What about opening the design of this up to some of our local designers, architects, etc?

  • Mike88

    Very cool idea, I love that little block and like the energy in this project.

  • PJMcFlur

    Who is paying for it?

  • ehill27

    Looks cool, but seems dangerous. Is there some protection from cars plowing into it head-on or from the side?

    • corrums

      Also, the small hills in it, seem like a recipe for disaster. Most likely there will be people that have been drinking using this space, since it’s located outside some great bars….and I can see them stumbling over those!

      • http://www.columbusunderground.com Walker Evans

        If anyone is drunk enough to stumble over a little hill like that, then they’re also going to stumble over curbs, into parking meters, over their own feet, and every other object between the bar and their bedroom.

  • mbeaumont

    I think this idea is fantastic. I really applaud everyone involved. We can quibble over the design (I kinda dig the kitschiness of it) but the overall idea is awesome. I’d definitely attend the second fundraiser, sorry I missed the initial one.

  • Ned23

    Cool idea.

  • http://www.columbusunderground.com Walker

    @ehill27 – It looks like there are functional meters on both sides of the parklet, which means parked car buffers during the busiest hours (that’s prime parking, so I imagine they would stay pretty full.

  • geary@acm.org

    The text says: “the pop-up greenspace would only displace one parking meter spot”. But all the pictures show two spots occupied.

  • http://www.columbusunderground.com Walker

    Oops, fixed. That typo was my fault. ;)

  • smartmug

    Has thought been given to how it will impact street drainage during rainy days?

  • heresthecasey

    Nice proposal! It would be great to get some of these set up across the city in different neighborhood business districts.

  • http://www.angiemeekerdesigns.com AMEEKER
  • http://www.angiemeekerdesigns.com AMEEKER

    How is this not just a way for those four restaurants to get around not having a patio / outdoor waiting area? Given the proximity of those restaurants, that’s what it will be used for. Which I’m not complaining about bc it will be nice to have a different place to wait/more seats to eat.

    It’s funny how I can LOVE the idea, but when executed there, it feels off somehow.

  • heresthecasey

    The parklet has now been installed on S 4th St

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