Parklets are seasonal extensions of pedestrian space that seek to activate and enliven public space, calm motor vehicle traffic, and help communities re-imagine the uses of streets. Founded in San Francisco, and now present in cities throughout the U.S. (including Minneapolis), parklets come in all styles, though they all occupy the dimensions of spaces that are typically used for the temporary storage of motor vehicles (7′ x 14′).
Funded by the Center for Prevention of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, FSI’s “Parklets that Empower” aims to achieve three goals: First, to install parklets near local businesses in different neighborhoods throughout Saint Paul. Second, to bring participating local businesses together to form a new network of businesses who are supportive of active public spaces. And third, to establish a formal parklet program in Saint Paul, to make it easier for future local businesses to install parklets; FSI is working with parklet pioneer Julie Reiter, parklet expert Jono Cowgill, and the City of Saint Paul to achieve this third goal.
FSI began building parklets back in 2014, first appearing on Hague Avenue. Then, in 2015, FSI commissioned Glow Ox Design/Build LLC to create the parklet that you see below, which was installed at the corner of Selby and Snelling Avenues for several weeks in Summer 2015.
Updates: In early summer our parklet was in front of Groundswell on Thomas Avenue near Hamline Avenue. Groundswell was our first business partner on “Parklets that Empower.” It is now paying a visit to the East side of St. Paul at Plaza Latino on Payne Avenue. Watch for it later this fall in the Cathedral Hill area at Selby & Kent near Naked Juice.
Pictured below: Darius Gray, who leads FSI’s parklet program, and Lilli Post Johnson, FSI data coordinator and analyst.