This image shows politicians and community members gathering for the opening of a 'parklet' in San Francisco's Divisadero neighbourhood.

City proposal: Replace some downtown parking with ‘parklets’

They say you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. Revelstoke motorists who already complain of parking problems in the city's downtown core might one day look back at 2011 as a long-lost paved parking paradise.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Revelstoke motorists who already complain of parking problems in the city’s downtown core might one day look back at 2011 as a long-lost paved parking paradise.

A new City of Revelstoke plan will explore replacing some downtown parking spaces with ‘parklets.’

What is a parklet? They’re small parks that take up several parking spaces. Examples presented at the City of Revelstoke council meeting on July 26 show patios lined with planters and potted trees, or public sitting areas.

The idea was presented by city planning director John Guenther. He said the plan was to study the system and then develop specific plans. The first step would be to try out a few of them on a short-term basis.

In an interview before the meeting, Guenther said the city will look to partner with private property owners to locate them on portions of private parking lots. He was reluctant to discuss specific locations because it would first involve consultation and partnership with the property owners.

Coun. Antoinette Halberstadt sensed the potential for controversy. “I am anticipating howls from the public saying, ‘What do you mean replacing several underutilized parallel parking spots?'” She asked if parking downtown was actually “underutilized.”

Guenther said the plan wasn’t to locate them on on-street parking spots. He did say the Revelstoke parking system is underutilized: “Through the transportation analysis, we’ve already done a parking analysis in the downtown core and we have a fairly heavily underutilized on-street parking system already.”

Guenther added the longer-term goal was to shift the city away from on-site parking downtown to “accentuate the pedestrian flavour and character of the downtown.”

Council voted unanimously to support the idea, but it’s not a done deal. They voted to allow staff to move forward with collecting more information and exploring potential sites in the downtown area. Staff will now seek out potential agreements with parking lot owners and bring them back to council.

***

San Francisco has a developed parklet program. Click here to learn more.

 

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