Business/Commerce

Permit Park(ing) Day Every Day

Inspired by Park(ing) Day, the annual event that invites citizens to transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks, cafes, and on-street bike parking, a local jurisdiction can create a simple, standard permit process to transform parking spots into longer-term public spaces.

Guidance
  • Seek a community partner to educate and engage the public
  • Determine who is eligible to apply for the new-use-of-the-curbside permit. New York City restricts applicants to local businesses or institutions that own or operate on the ground floor of a building facing that curbside location; San Francisco permits business improvement districts as applicants
  • Create a pilot project and use its success to pave the way for changing permitting processes to extend the pilot into an ongoing program
  • Work with community partners to publicize the program and its request for applications or proposals (RFP)
  • Encourage applicants to regularly check in with city staff to clarify expectations, learn about resources, and understand design requirements early in the process
  • Focus the program on the creation of new public space and ensure its public use
  • Develop ongoing maintenance agreements obligating the maintenance partner to clean and maintain the space
  • Create a sample maintenance agreement for interested partners
Benefits
  • Creates new dynamic, pedestrian-oriented public space
  • Increases pedestrian right-of-way, often creating wider effective sidewalk clearances for foot and wheelchair traffic
  • Activates streetscapes
  • Improves pedestrian safety
  • Reduces traffic
  • Creates public improvements with minimal public expense
  • Gives businesses and organizations a new way to interact with their community
  • Encourages local businesses and commercial organizations to have a broader civic engagement
Considerations
  • Reduces curbside parking
  • Requires multiple agency approvals
  • Drainage study may be needed
  • Requires ongoing maintenance and supervision
Where to Use It
  • Roadways with curbside parking lanes
  • Curbside location in close proximity to the applicant’s establishment or organization
  • Relatively level roadway surface
  • Curbside locations at least 20 feet from the corner of an intersection or driveway
  • Roads with permitted speeds under 25 mph
Professional Consensus

The Parklet Impact Study from the San Francisco Great Streets Project found that the number of people stopping to socialize and engage in positive behavior increased significantly at all three studied locations.

Examples

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.