Today is Park(ing) Day! Started in San Francisco in 2005, Park(ing) Day has turned into a global phenomenon to highlight the need for more people space in our communities by repurposing a parking space and turning it into a parklet for the day. These have become very popular during Covid with many cities making it vastly easier to permit a parklet. I helped get several parklets implemented in downtown Sebastopol. All of these are on Caltrans rights-of-way. The Caltrans approval was actually quite easy. It took about two days from permit submittal to approval. These are down-and-dirty parklets. We started with just the concrete k-rail barriers. With donated lumber and volunteer labor we were able to built platforms in two of the parklets to bring them up to sidewalk level in order to make them accessible and more in the flow of the adjacent sidewalk. At the third location, we blocked of an entire section of street that had dubious use as an actual street. In my opinion, the vehicular circulation is much safer without vehicle access to the street.
The Caltrans temporary encroachment expires at the end of February 2022. I’m currently working with the community and city to try to turn these parklets into more permanent installations. Most people seem really pleased with them and they definitely counter the overwhelming vehicular energy of downtown Sebastopol. Some owners near the plaza installation (last photo), have some misgivings about the idea of these remaining. I’m hoping to convince them they are a net positive for all businesses.