On May 28th, the City of Sacramento Public Works Department and the Local Government Commission held a Parklets Design Workshop at City Hall. A parklet is an extension of sidewalk devoted to public use. Parklets occupy parking spaces and are owned by private enterprises.

The workshop, sponsored by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Leadership for Healthy Communities program, featured John Bela, a creator of the parklet, as its keynote speaker. In 2005, Bela and his design studio built the first parklet in San Francisco. On September 20, 2013 a temporary parklet was built between 20th & J Streets in honor of Park(ing) Day.

The City of Sacramento is working with local businesses to create a Parklet pilot program to create permanent parklets in Sacramento. The City of Sacramento hopes to have 6-10 parklets built using this program. These parklets can be anywhere in Sacramento where the speed limit is less than 25 mph. Businesses will pay for the entirety of the parklet, including design, construction, and upkeep. These spaces must be kept open to the public, and have no affiliation with any private institution.

After Bela’s presentation the workshop changed into a breakout session. Attendees were able to work one-on-one with Bela and other landscape architects, hashing out ideas in preparation for the Parklet Pilot Program.

“Taking away of a parking space, can be countered by the attractiveness of a parklet in front of one’s business, ” says Tristan Osborn, a landscape engineer. “It can also be very beneficial for businesses that really on foot traffic. Depending on the business the possibilities are endless.”

Many of the workshop’s participants echoed Osborn’s opinion. Parklets are a hot topic for many. Parklets themselves have created a movement, a push for more public places in our ever-industrialized world.