“Parklets” are small public spaces, typically set up in parallel parking spots, that repurpose areas usually reserved for cars into places where pedestrians can comfortably congregate. They often include movable tables and chairs, planters, and other placemaking features. Philadelphia’s first parklet, at 43rd and Baltimore Avenue, was first installed in 2011 and returned this year as a seasonal fixture, along with another parklet in University City on 44th Street and one in the Logan section of North Philadelphia in front of that neighborhood’s Free Library branch. Parklets have also been created in other cities, such as Oakland and Chicago. One of the most recent cities to incorporate these small parks into the streetscape is Los Angeles, which recently approved four parklets, two of which are in the city’s downtown.
San Francisco, the first city to adopt the parklet, now boasts 31 of these features, with even more in the works. The parklet concept was derived from the idea of Park(ing) Day, an annual event where citizens are encouraged to turn metered parking spots into engaging places for people. Park(ing) Day occurs on the third Friday of September. If you are interested in learning more about or participating in Park(ing) Day in Philly, visit Park(ing) Day Philadelphia for more information.