Pedestrian Chronicles: 10 Microparks Chosen for Summer Debut
Developer Greg Smith hopes to energize the gloomiest stretch of downtown with his new parklet.
The Seattle Department of Transportation has chosen 10 businesses to host "parklets" or "micro-parks"— spots where parking spaces in front of businesses around town are converted into spaces for pedestrians to hang out.
As we reported when SDOT initiated the application process in January, applicants had to come up with their own funding; they're also responsible for maintaining the spots, which will operate for one year. (There are currently three permanent parklets as part of the initial pilot project that SDOT started last year.)
Here's the list of winners, and the lucky neighborhoods, where the microparks are scheduled to open early this summer:
- Hillman City — Tin Umbrella Coffee Roasters (5600 Rainier Ave S)
- Madrona — Bottlehouse and Hi Spot Café (1416 34th Ave)
- Central District — Cortona Café (2425 E Union St)
- Capitol Hill — Lost Lake Lounge and Comet Tavern (10th Ave and Pike St)
- Downtown — Urban Visions at the Chromer Building (1516 2nd Ave)
- Denny Triangle — Seattle Children’s Research Institute (1915 Terry Ave)
- Uptown — Uptown Alliance at SIFF Cinema (511 Queen Anne Ave N)
- University District — U District Advocates (1316 NE 43rd St)
- Wallingford — Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream (1622 N 45th St)
- Ballard — Delancey (1415 NW 70th St)
Local developer Greg Smith, who owns the lunchtime food truck lot at 2nd & Pike and the property across Pike to the north, is going to host his micro-park on the five parking stalls in front of the building there that currently houses noc noc and Pabla Indian restaurant (they'll be gone; Smith is bringing in an Elysian Pub over a quarter of the space) and a convenience store that will stay, but be revamped, Smith says.
Smith has hired Shannon Nichol, a landscape architect with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, to design his parklet. Smart choice: She's the innovative designer who's doing the estimated $30 to $50 million Pike-Pine upgrade to make the stretch between downtown and I-5 more pedestrian-friendly, with rising crosswalks on the east-west corridor and tree corridors on the north-south blocks.
Smith says he wants to create an "extension of Pike Place Market" out into the surrounding area and hopes his parklet, just two blocks away, will create that opportunity. Smith—who, full disclosure, was one of the original investors in PubliCola back in 2009—says he wants to have seating (made by "local furniture makers"), umbrellas, and street musicians in the parklet, giving people from the food trucks a place to sit and enjoy their lunches. He's also thinking about putting lighting there, connecting the micropark to the action at the Elysian.
Smith notes that a Downtown Seattle Association study found that this very stretch on 2nd between Pike and Pine is the gloomiest and least-used block in the area, and he's intent on turning it into a block that draws crowds of locals and toursits alike and pushes drug dealers away.