City loans parklet to Passaic

Rahway will lend one of its four parklets to the City of Passaic as part of a shared services agreement.

sidewalk cafe:parklet
(File photo)

City Council approved a resolution (AR-115-97) during its regular meeting on April 24 to enter into a shared services agreement with the City of Passaic for use of one of Rahway’s parklets.

Rahway will receive no payment or revenue from the arrangement, it’s simply loaning one of the city’s four parklets, according to City Administrator Cherron Rountree. “We still still be using our other three parklets, it is simply a shared service,” she said.

(File photo)

The city constructed a parklet and unveiled it in September 2014, ahead of the Downtown NJ Conference hosted at Hamilton Stage that year. The cost of the parklet was estimated at less than $2,000, covered by the city, Rountree said at the time.

A parklet transforms, usually but not always, a parking space into a small public space or sometimes an outdoor dining area. Rahway’s first parklet consisted of a simple wood platform plus flower planters and some smaller tables and chairs. Some places call them “Streateries” since they’re often set up in parking spaces to offer additional outdoor dining areas for local restaurants. “Streateries allow hosting restaurants, cafés, and bars to offer table service in their parklets during business hours (like a sidewalk café) and provide a public open space at all other times (like a parklet),” according to the Seattle Department of Transportation, which also features a map detailing locations of its program.

According to this 2015 New York Times story: “The idea for parklets began to germinate in 2005, when members of a San Francisco arts collective called Rebar wanted to apply their artistic flair to small fragments of real estate. They were also interested in challenging ‘the boundaries of the short-term lease offered by a metered parking space,’ says John Bela, one of Rebar’s co-founders. And they questioned what they saw as an automobile-centered approach to urban planning and design.”