Today the San Jose city council voted to extend the “Curb Cafe Pilot Program”(Parklets) until 12/2017(updated). With this extension, the program expands to 25 total parking spots, with 2 already in use. Between Willow Glen and downtown another 6 applicants have applied for the program, which leaves 17(updated) remaining spots(which will go fast).
Parklets are a rather new novelty for San Jose, even though nearby San Francisco pioneered the parklet and Park(ing) Day almost a decade ago. But Parklets are the new norm in cities like Montreal. As I posted in August, after a trip to Montreal, I was impressed with the extent that parklets are used in a city that has about three months of summer weather. Yet here in San Jose, there is 10 months on sun and only a handful of parklets.
It is essential to maximize the effectiveness of the 12 parklets the city has allocated. The most effective way, is by grouping parklets together. These Parklet Parkways create vibrancy and interest, and bring people out of buildings and back on to the street. They create a safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists.
There are three streets in downtown that are perfectly suited for Parklet Parkways:
East San Fernando Street: San Fernando already has an anchor parklet at Chaco’s from which to build on. The opportunity is there to expand west towards South Second Street. Also, because this is a major bike corridor, the parklets remove parked cars trying to merge onto the street from the bicyclists’ right side.
South First Street: South First is the best leveraged for a Parklet Parkway, as it already has four major parklets. So why not fill in the empty spots in between them? Add color, funk, and great design, after all this is SoFA, the epicenter of South Bay art.
Post Street: This quiet street is perfect for a parklets. One way and intimate, this shaded street is a often overlooked respite in downtown. The human scale on Post Street caters to future parklet improvements.