Fresno Launches Parklet Program

The Business Journal reported last week that Fresno has launched a parklet pilot program. (Header image is theirs).

A parklet is a low-cost, mini park that is built in what used to be a parking space (or two, or three). The intention behind them is to turn a space previously used for private car storage into something that can be used by everybody. In many cities, they are built in partnership with a local business, usually a food-related one, to create new outdoor seating. In most cases, the businesses agrees to maintain the parklet, but they are not allowed to restrict it to customers.

A parklet in southern New Jersey

The first one opened by Bitwise as a way to provide some outdoor space for the company.

“What’s really is exciting is that there are now inviting spaces not just inside of our building, but actually outside of our building,” said Channelle Charest, Bitwise executive director of growth. “And it really encourages people to sit, talk and meet together, which we believe creates community and exciting things.”

The Fresno Bee has a video about it. It looks pretty well built – a good value for the money.

Two others have been confirmed.

With grant assistance from Downtown Fresno Partnership, Fulton Street Coffee Roasters and The Modernist will also install parklets, said Mark Standriff, Fresno’s director of communications and public affairs.

In some cities, they are seasonal. That makes sense for cities like Pittsburgh, where the demand for outdoor seating in January is probably limited. In other cities, parklets are intended to be temporary as a proof-of-concept. Basically, to show that there is demand for the space that can eventually be built up as a permanent park.

You know, something like the Fulton Mall, which offered tons of outdoor seating space for local businesses. :/

Three years ago, Clovis indicated that they would launch their own parklet program, but that apparently went nowhere.

Fresno needs more park space, so it’s great to see this program begin. It’s just sadly ironic that the city decided they need more outdoor seating and such after spending millions to remove it from Fulton Street.

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