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Do You Think 'Parklets' Would be Embraced in Mill Valley?

In Fairfax, town officials are looking into turning a parallel parking space into a public space with seating and giving it a temporary try for six months to a year. Do you like the concept of a parklet for Mill Valley?

Fairfax officials are looking into experimenting with a parklet, a small urban park in the space of a parallel parking spot in the downtown area.

Would that be welcomed in Mill Valley?

Parklets, which are becoming increasingly common in San Francisco and other cities, include seating and sometimes planter-box 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. 

Town officials will work with Fairfax 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.

Mill Valley is currently examining the parking culture downtown. On Throckmorton around the Depot Plaza, the city recently installed 30 new parking meters that take credit cards as part of a three-month pilot program.

A recently formed ad hoc committee will use the data collected from the meters to review downtown parking as a whole. Mill Valley has a total of 396 parking meters downtown.

Mill Valley Police Lt. Ken Dunkel said the idea of a parklet hasn't come up so far, but he wouldn't rule it out. The committee is exploring different technologies for meters, and reviewing both metered and unmetered spaces. Everything is on the table right now, he said.

"We're trying to start from scratch and see what's best for the balance of citizens, businesses and visitors," Dunkel said. "I think all options are open."


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.”

Some cities that have experimented with parklets have said they attract more foot traffic, leading to a boost in commerce.

Do you like the idea of a parklet in Mill Valley? Where you put one? Let us know in the comments.

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Rico November 20, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Downtown used to have the alcove, a place right smack in the middle of Lytton square where people could gather and be surrounded by trees on 3 sides, but that was Old Mill Town. So, in that same location they chopped down all the trees to urbanize the spot. There are still benches there, but wide open to traffic views. I don't see any need at all in downtown to hog parking spots and put benches in their place right on the street. Also, they did the same thing to Tam High. When I attended Tam in the early seventies, there were tons of trees and all kinds of cool "sesh spots" where we could hide from Cady and other administrators. The campus really felt like Mill Valley at the time, and we felt sorry for the kids that had to attend Redwood HS because the place was totally devoid of hiding spots, That uniqueness is long gone from Tam HS now, they clear cut most all the trees and shrubs that were once there, with the sole purpose of eliminating any private natural places for the kids to have fun. It doesn't have to be that way. All I can say is that I'm very glad that I was around Mill Valley in the sixties and seventies. I still live here now, but I feel sorry for the kids now. I can't see how they could ever have as much fun as we did, but , they don't know what they missed out on so maybe it's just me that misses "the good old days in M.V. Now, these are the good old days for us. And who knows what the future has in store for Mill Valley, I could be worse !
Jack November 20, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Parklets are a failed concept in San Francisco. Almost all of them are eyesores and, while photographs of the best of them appear in this story, they're mostly under-utilized mini-hardscapes surrounded by vehicles, parking meters, signage and fire hydrants. Evidence shows that crack and tobacco users find comfort there.
Zack_d November 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I have to rebut the comments that parklets are not successful in San Franscisco. They are very successful and almost always in use. They act so great magnets for local businesses. I would agree that they aren't really needed downtown - there is the plaza, and the median in front of peet's acts as its own little parklet. However, i could see one out in front of swirl being a great idea.
Matt Bianco November 20, 2012 at 07:37 PM
On second thought, I think they would be wonderful and they won't have to cost us one tax penny. We can sell naming rights! And since the local business cannot match the national ad buyers in capacity, we may get wonderful new parks like: * K-Mart Park * Office Max Outdoor Office Center * Walmart Parklet * GE Capital - Small Parks for Your Neighborhood * Microsoft Outdoor Office 2012 * Clorox Clean Parks * Jack in the Park
Ann Spake December 02, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Parklets may be attractive as greenery but as leisure sitting places are a health hazard due to known adverse lung impacts from proximity to car and truck exhaust. We tend to romanticize Old Europe with its seating next to narrow cobblestone streets but lets remember those traditions pre-dated the use of the auto!


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