Boosting Economic Development via Parklets

MBEP member the City of Pacific Grove, is allowing temporary use of on-street parking spaces as “parklets” to encourage safety and expand seating capacity for businesses impacted by the state-ordered capacity limits. A “parklet” is a pedestrian space created by building a temporary sidewalk extension within an on-street parking space, with amenities such as seating, art and landscaping. Parklets are used to activate pedestrian street activity, and they support economic development by encouraging foot traffic at local businesses. The city’s goal is to encourage and promote sidewalk dining to help improve the local business economy, create a more urban pedestrian environment, and promote and protect the public health, safety and general welfare. Since the program began in June, they have approved 16 Parklets and waived approximately $4,694 in fees.

The city is also waiving fees and hearings for the following:

  • Sidewalk dining permits that allow dining on the sidewalk;
  • Encroachment permits that allow for reservation of parking spaces to facilitate curbside pick up for take-out service;
  • Administrative Use permits to allow temporary outdoor dining on private property.

For cities that see a need for parklets to help stimulate economic activity safely, follow these four general steps:

  1. Inquire: Contact your local community or economic development department for information
  2. Proposal: Draft a proposal to include information about the proposed location and evidence of community support
  3. Design & Permitting: Work with city staff to draft a design that meets all the necessary safety and accessibility requirements. Once approved, apply for a parklet permit
  4. Construction: Once permit is issued, construct and install your parklet. There may be a site inspection prior to and after construction. Be sure to have an ongoing maintenance plan.

MBEP members may contact agauer@mbep.biz with any questions.