A pedestrian-only East Cherry Street? Check. A parklet/pop-up cafe? Check. Signage to offer up some inclination of development projects? Check. Rahway Rising seems to be ahead of the curve a bit when it comes to downtown initiatives. 😛
The city unveiled a parklet outside Cubanu last week, in conjunction with the annual Downtown New Jersey conference, hosted at Hamilton Stage.
The parklet, which takes up about two parking spaces and allows for outdoor dining and other activities, is not uncommon when it comes to urban planning: Seattle launched a pilot parklet this past summer, including a nifty map of various locations, and the Downtown San Diego Partnership has a moving parklet design challenge. In Tucson, there was an Indiegogo campaign to build the city’s first parklet (crowdfunding!). And we shared a story from back in 2012 about Westport, Conn., trying out these popup cafes.
Rahway’s parklet is expected to remain in front of Cubanu through Saturday (the rain date for the liquor license extension – to allow for alcohol to be served outside), City Administrator Cherron Rountree said, and will remain through the weekend given the response from local businesses. It will be removed Monday but it is mobile and expected to move in front of other restaurants, weather permitting, on various weekends, she said, adding that several requests already have been made.
The cost of the parklet was estimated at less than $2,000, covered by the city, according to Rountree, who added that the downtown conference was estimated to have brought in $16,000 to city businesses, through expenses for “rentals, food, drink, supplies, etc.”
Patrick Cassio, the Republican candidate for mayor this fall, claimed merchants near the parklet weren’t happy with losing two parking spaces. He also criticized the fact that the parklet advertises Interim Mayor Samson Steinman only weeks before the election. (Also running for mayor will be Independent Renee Thrash).
This weekend also will launch Cherry Street Alive, a pilot program that will close East Cherry Street to vehicular traffic on weekends for the next month, with movies and various activities planned downtown throughout the weekends.