Fairfax Town officials are looking into experimenting with a parklet – or a small urban park in the space of a parallel parking spot – in downtown Fairfax.
Parklets, which are becoming increasingly common in San Francisco and other cities, include seating and possibly vegetation, bicycle parking or tables.
“Parklets take a parking space and make public space,” Jim Moore, Fairfax Director of Planning, told the Fairfax Town Council at its Nov. 7 meeting.
The Fairfax Planning Commission created an ad-hoc subcommittee that’s working on a pilot parklet project.
“The idea, in the spirit of Fairfax and volunteerism, is to make it fun,” Moore said.
The committee has been meeting with the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and looking into testing a parklet at a temporary location for six months to a year.
Town officials will work with local business to determine the exact placement of the parklet and to see if any want to sponsor it or help with the design or implementation.
“We are hoping to get a collaborative relationship from sponsors and to reach out to businesses so there are no feathers ruffled,” Moore said.
Councilman Larry Bragman said parklets in San Francisco have benefited nearby businesses.
It’s not clear where the funding will come from to create the parklet, but Moore said town funds won’t be spent on parklet aside from a bit of staff time.
According to the San Francisco Pavement to Parks parklet permit in the attached staff report, parklets are “intended to provide space for people to sit and relax and enjoy the city around them, especially where narrow sidewalks would otherwise preclude such activities. They are intended to be seen as a piece of street furniture, providing aesthetic enhancement to the overall streetscape.”
During public comment, Fairfax resident Tony Yudice said he thought a parklet was a good alternative to permanently closing down Bolinas Road downtown to create more public space. But he had a concern about the increasing number of cars coming to town.
“As Fairfax is expanding into people’s lives, there are a lot more people coming here and it’s awful hard to find parking on the weekends,” Yudice said. “How will we address the number of cars that we will continue to have here?”
Moore said the town pursuing managed and monetized parking would be a way address future parking issues, such as a system that incentives people who are going to be in town longer to park further outside of downtown.
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