West Seattle’s first city-approved ‘parklet’ planned outside EQ Fitness

April 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 42 Comments

(Potential concept for the parklet – not an exact overlay – just a lengthwise comparison)
Until now, West Seattle wasn’t represented in the city’s pilot program turning a few street-parking spaces around the city into “parklets” – a program inspired by other cities including Vancouver (BC), San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.

But today, SDOT confirms West Seattle’s first parklet is one of a dozen-plus in the works around the city (map added).

It will be at 3270 California SW, in front of Equilibrium Fitness (WSB sponsor) in the south Admiral area. Lora Swift of Swift Media Solutions is working with EQ Fitness on the plan, which is still taking shape, and, she says, will next go through “a couple of rounds of public comment,” as well as searching for a designer, and funding. With all that ahead for parklet plans, the approval is just the start – all the hosts around the city “will work with SDOT over the next several months to design, permit, and construct their parklets, with the goal of opening this summer,” according to today’s announcement.

The pilot program started with three test parklets, including a Capitol Hill bar whose parklet – open since last September – you can see here. If you’re curious about the rules and requirements, from size to mandatory insurance, you can read about that here.

Stand by for updates on how to have a say as the parklet plan takes shape.

42 Comments

  1. Yea people can not find a place to park so lets have people sit in the road and have lunch. Who pays the lawsuit when a car tales out one of these as people are eating and enjoying bus and car exhaust?

    Comment by Max — 1:03 pm April 14, 2014 #

  2. oh how cool; that’s just a few blocks from me, @Hinds; the decades long “Island Tan” was there

    Comment by Diane — 1:27 pm April 14, 2014 #

  3. How dare they use valuable parking to subsidize transient pedestrians! Nobody uses parks, don’t they know it rains in Seattle? This micro-recreation goes too far!

    Comment by MacJ — 1:45 pm April 14, 2014 #

  4. I don’t understand the point of this. Seattle has a large amount of parks/greenspace already (which I do love), and also has a large deficit of available parking. So, using potential parking spaces for spaces for a few benches doesn’t seem to make sense. What is the purpose?

    Comment by Mike — 2:59 pm April 14, 2014 #

  5. I’m afraid I agree with the two earlier posts against this concept. Parking (heck, driving) in West Seattle has gotten ridiculous and to take away more for really no good reason doesn’t make sense. We have lots of parks in West Seattle – Hiawatha is only a couple blocks north of this.

    Comment by Chris — 3:39 pm April 14, 2014 #

  6. By the way, this is one parking space, for those who asked; sorry if the story doesn’t make that clear, but please refer to the semi-overlay at the top.

    Comment by WSB — 3:44 pm April 14, 2014 #

  7. What a waste of taxpayer money. Save this money (and the money from any of these other harebrained ideas) and put it towards the metro crisis that you are trying to make taxpayers pay for. Our money is being spent recklessly and this seriously needs to stop!

    Also, this is something that will only be used for maybe 4 months out of the year due to the weather here. Probably makes more sense in cities like san francisco, but not here.

    Comment by 4thGenWS — 4:04 pm April 14, 2014 #

  8. Not publicly funded, 4GW. Applicants also pay for the cost of the proposal review: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets_faq.htm#faq6

    Comment by WSB — 4:12 pm April 14, 2014 #

  9. it’s a great idea. Sometimes we get tired of people who are constantly saying ” I don’t wanna pay for that” or “waste of taxpayer money”…yet they haven’t read the information. Yes, we value our dollars. We also value our world…and this will not impede anyone.

    Oh, and Max? Cars can veer of into people anywhere. Go the speed limit, pay attention, don’t drive drunk, and maybe, just maybe it won’t happen.

    Geez, this world is full of “Debbie Downers”.

    Comment by JanS — 5:34 pm April 14, 2014 #

  10. I stand mistaken and am glad this is not paid for by taxpayers. However, I don’t agree with taking away more parking for this. It’s hard enough with the all building going up without being required to provide parking. If there wasn’t such a lack of parking already, I would be okay with this.

    Comment by 4thGenWS — 5:37 pm April 14, 2014 #

  11. So,
    Cost: one less parking space, maybe an extra 40 feet of walking for 3 people per day.

    Benefit: a (potentially) nice place for 2-4 people to sit, 3 times per day, plus something fun to look at for hundreds of people per day.

    I can’t believe people are against this. Maybe if implemented on a mass scale, but that is not the case. The pictures linked in the article ranged from “okay” to “really nice”.

    Comment by Matt — 5:47 pm April 14, 2014 #

  12. I probably would not patronize the sponsor anyway but just in case I need to make it clear, until there are enough handicapped spaces in an area, I will make sure to stay far away from any business who makes this fad a reality.
    And if any one can answer the core question of “Why” (also spelled WTF?) I would be interested in hearing their input.

    Comment by Ken — 6:03 pm April 14, 2014 #

  13. Cool idea. Parklets sound adorable, but they may be in the way when no one can park their cars anywhere.

    Comment by Noelle — 6:21 pm April 14, 2014 #

  14. I am pretty positive about it. In contrast, when I moved back into this area, I immediately noticed it was harder to find parking here than a block off alki. Also, when it comes to safety, this is a big concern. Parked cars on California are hit often enough that I know I am taking a calculated risk every time I park my car. A few years ago, I paused and did a risk analysis. Before I walked away, a truck going 30+ mph hit a car a block away.

    Comment by Teresa — 6:22 pm April 14, 2014 #

  15. interesting idea, but seems like it would be better on a less busy street.

    Comment by sna — 7:48 pm April 14, 2014 #

  16. Citywide the map show 17 parklets. It does not indicate how many parking spaces and much sidewalk get wasted.

    Comment by dsa — 7:49 pm April 14, 2014 #

  17. How is free parking for car storage in public space not a “waste”?

    Comment by Brian ws — 8:32 pm April 14, 2014 #

  18. Of all the wastes of time the city can come with this is one of the silliest; nothing like a croissant with a little diesel garnish.

    Comment by WestSide45 — 8:34 pm April 14, 2014 #

  19. So…

    Who is going to pay to maintain them, or does that “just happen”?

    Comment by wsguy — 8:39 pm April 14, 2014 #

  20. That too is answered in the FAQ! http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets_faq.htm#faq12

    Comment by WSB — 8:41 pm April 14, 2014 #

  21. “Parklets” is a really unfortunate name, makes it sound like a typical harebrained idea of overpaid Seattle hipster bureaucrats. Don’t judge based on the name, read up and see what’s been done in other cities!

    The parklets I’ve seen in SF function as sidewalk extenders with public seating, and they are very pragmatic and good for business and community. Our sidewalks in the Junction business district feel uncomfortably narrow for the type of density we are headed towards, I could definitely see the usefulness of a parklet in front of say, Husky Deli. Not sure about the east side of 3200 block of Cali Ave, but keeping an open mind, esp. as the burden on taxpayers seems minimal.

    Comment by Molly — 8:48 pm April 14, 2014 #

  22. thanks TR for link to parklets in other cities; these look wonderful; and thanks to Equilibrium Fitness and Lora Swift for doing this; I can hardly wait

    Comment by Diane — 9:15 pm April 14, 2014 #

  23. Yeah! We do get a parklet after all! Thank you, Equilibrium Fitness and Swift Media Solutions. This is a big step toward making this West Seattle business district more human-oriented and walkable. After all, it is humans who walk into the shops, not cars. And humans arrive at the businesses on foot, by bus, bicycle, skateboard, wheel chair, etc, not just by car. So with all the many thousands of car parking spaces on our streets I think we don’t need to complain about losing a few free parking spaces on the roads supported by the taxes we all pay. I, too, would love to see a parklet in front of Husky Deli where people could sit and enjoy their sandwich, croissant and cappucino, ice cream cone, bread from Great Harvest or whatever. The more walkable our neighborhood becomes, the more likely people will be encouraged to leave their cars at home, making more room for those who have no choice but to bring their cars. Read “Walkable City” by Jeff Speck if you need to be convinced that humanizing our streets is a good thing for our health, safety and economy.

    Comment by Kathy — 11:37 pm April 14, 2014 #

  24. I’m thinking of having a Zipline run straight down California Avenue folks. Much more efficient than busses or bikes.

    Comment by alkiwarriror — 2:49 am April 15, 2014 #

  25. That is enough space to build an apodment. Shocked it hasn’t been permitted yet.

    Comment by buckwheat — 7:41 am April 15, 2014 #

  26. So will eq fitness still be there after the mega development at 3270?

    Comment by Jon — 8:14 am April 15, 2014 #

  27. What a great idea; West Seattle needs spaces like these to break up those very long California Ave. blocks; agreed that one outside Husky would be great as well. The FAQ is enlightening, as I had no idea of the process of getting parklets started; sure seems like something nearly anyone can try if you can get the money together. Thanks Equilibrium and Lora!

    Comment by Admiral Gal — 8:15 am April 15, 2014 #

  28. huh?

    Comment by seagal — 9:15 am April 15, 2014 #

  29. Jon, there is no development proposed at 3270 right now – if you mean the 3210 California development, that stops a couple buildings north of this one.

    Comment by WSB — 9:24 am April 15, 2014 #

  30. Yep my mistake. Thanks

    Comment by Jon — 9:38 am April 15, 2014 #

  31. Curious as to who carries the liability insurance on these new parks ? as parks on/in the road like this seem like a disaster waiting to happen due to our streets getting busier with much more traffic along with cars pulling in and out from parking garages blindly very close by. Wonder if they will end up reducing speed in these types of areas making traffic even worse, putting more traffic flow onto the side streets. Seems like a bad idea with so many parks close by that are so under used. Even if this is a privately funded park there is still a lot of tax dollars being spent on design review, studies and meetings of the area and more… by city paid people.

    Comment by wetone — 10:50 am April 15, 2014 #

  32. Hi, Wet! Asked and answered above. But once again – insurance and costs (including review costs), paid by the parklet sponsors, not Your Tax Dollars.
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets_faq.htm#faq6
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets_faq.htm#faq22

    Comment by WSB — 11:17 am April 15, 2014 #

  33. Lose one parking space, but gain a community gathering place that helps local business and doesn’t drain taxpayer money? Yes, please.

    The Real Estate Gals already supported the parklet pilot project, and this West Seattle one sounds like a great addition. We wrote about our reasons for supporting parklets on our blog a few weeks ago: http://realestategals.com/why-we-love-seattle-parklets/

    Comment by Real Estate Gals — 11:40 am April 15, 2014 #

  34. jeez; do people even read the story, before spewing so much negativity?

    Comment by Diane — 12:20 pm April 15, 2014 #

  35. Gee. when the able-bodied geezers who were born driving a car and can’t imagine any other way to get around West Seattle finally go to their reward, maybe you won’t be reading so many negative comments about losing one parking space. News flash: the generations following you are doing very nicely without using a car for every little trip. They are waiting longer to get a driver’s license, driving less, and want to locate in neighborhoods that are walkable and appealing to pedestrians and close to amenities and businesses. Those neighborhoods have the highest real estate values, by the way (see Real Estate Gals). Though old, I figured out long ago it is much more pleasant (take a shopping cart or bike and trailer) to leave the car at home and not worry about or add to the perceived parking “problem” in West Seattle.

    Comment by Also a geezer — 2:31 pm April 15, 2014 #

  36. @Also a geezer: yeah, the younger generation are a bunch of 19 and 20 year-olds still being hauled around by their parents in their minivans and bumming rides off of their friends who have cars. I have one at home myself.

    Comment by keith — 8:25 pm April 15, 2014 #

  37. Also a geezer – I second you 100 times!! Thank you! They have these all over Chicago as well and my wife and I loved them. If you can’t find parking, take a bus or walk.

    Comment by Eric — 8:36 pm April 15, 2014 #

  38. Go all or nothing. Just develop the buildings into the sidewalk and remove the curb parking so it can become the new sidewalk. Then we will have narrow corridors simulating European cities with denser living environments (enabled by the 10′ of extra build able space) which are more sustainable. Or just keep things American and allow people to park and drive with super wide paved streets. A parklet solves nothing. I’m embarrassed to live in a city with parklets. A real park is nice but don’t give me an unusable deck in the street

    Comment by Josh — 10:07 pm April 15, 2014 #

  39. This is awsome. I have always wanted wanted to sit out in the middle of traffic and have lunch. With the smell of buss exhaust and cars flying by right next to me while having my morning coffee and doughnut life could never be better

    Comment by boy — 1:58 pm April 16, 2014 #

  40. You’ll have to find somewhere else if you want to do that, since there are no restaurants on that side of the street. The other side has some sidewalk-cafe space, I think, so I’m sure they can accommodate you!

    Comment by WSB — 2:42 pm April 16, 2014 #

  41. @keith, my 23 year old gets a loaded Orca Card. She gets around on foot or by bus. And I thought she was spoiled! I had to bribe her to get a driver’s license when she hit 20 for ID. She has more sense than I did, I had to have a license and access to the family car the second I turned 16 (1967). Gotta say, she has probably been a lot safer not driving.

    Comment by Also a geezer — 11:23 pm April 16, 2014 #

  42. Another geezer here. I don’t see the problem. Restaurants have outside seating on busy streets with car fumes, bus exhaust, etc. and people use it in good weather. There are also a few benches at various places in the city that get used.

    As far as losing a parking space, this is in front of a fitness center! Walk a little bit further, and maybe you won’t have to work out as long.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 8:25 am April 17, 2014 #

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