Boston paving the way for parklets

Freewheel Parklet, Valencia Street San Francisco.

City officials this week put out a call for experts to create cozy, compact mini-parks that will begin sprouting up along some city sidewalks next year.

This week’s request for proposals taps people for the design, fabrication and implementation of three to four urban “parklets,” tiny pedestrian oases that would extend sidewalks into parking spaces to provide miniature parks for three out of four seasons.

“Parklets have the potential to increase pedestrian oriented activity on streets and sidewalks, as well as shopping and main street districts,” said Vineet Gupta, director of planning at the Boston Transportation Department.

The success of parklets in New York City and San Francisco was what partially inspired Boston officials to get a taste of parklet turf, but after hearing the demand from local businesses and neighborhood associations, city officials decided early this year to get this test run off the ground.

“Depending on how those go, we’d expand in subsequent years,” Gupta said.

When asked about the safety concerns associated with making a parking space into a recreational space, Gupta said the parklets would have barriers to protect pedestrians from cars, and that business partners would be responsible for their maintenance – not the city.

In response to the potential of the city’s homeless population setting up camp in parklets, Gupta said, “We don’t expect it to be any more of a problem than what happens on a sidewalk bench. We think that with neighborhood support, there will always be someone keeping an eye out.”

But a question on everyone’s mind: Will this annoy Boston motorists already frustrated with a lack of parking in the Hub?

“We only want to locate these where we have a need for them as well as a request from community and frankly full support of local businesses,” Gupta said, adding there will be public meetings before parklet locations are decided. “If the community thinks that the two spaces that would be used by a parklet are important to them, and they’re not interested, that that’s it.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.