For or against parklets?

2016-07-26 06:00

Petitions are flying back and forth in an attempt to decide the future of the “parklet” on Regent Road.

A parklet is an extension of pedestrian pavement which aims to provide more public space for pedestrians. Part of an international movement, parklets often use one or more parking spaces.

The purpose of parklets is to raise awareness about the lack of public space in an area, and to raise awareness about how on-street parking spaces can be used for other purposes – such as socialising and relaxing, explains Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport. “The logic is that as more people make use of public transport, the demand for on-street parking should decrease, which will enable us to use these as public open spaces for recreational/other purposes.”

Herron says in general, parklets have been well-received in the areas where implemented. “Officials frequently visited the parklet during the past six months and this site was often fully occupied by people making use of the space, creating the impression that it had a positive impact on the street.”

However, a group of local business owners recently created a petition to request the removal of the parklet based on a scarcity of parking in the area. “On-street parking is scarce in the vicinity and the demand for parking is relatively high. Furthermore, there were concerns about the creation of motorcycle parking bays,” Herron says.

The current permit for the parklet expired on Thursday 30 June and an application was made for the renewal of the permit to extend the temporary period of the parklet.

“The City considered renewing the permit for another six months, however, in light of the petition received, it will not be renewed. The applicant will be notified in due course that the permit will not be renewed and that the parklet must be removed within a specified time.”

Now, the creators of the parklet, Blok developers, have created an online petition to garner support for the parklet. The parklet provides a safe space for people of all ages, demographics and income brackets to stop and take a break from busy Regent Road, says van Embden, managing director of Blok. “At any time of the day, one can see a multitude of users in the parklet. It is the only space of its kind and offers a variety of benefits to the people who use it, with an average of 50 users per day. It is unfortunate that the benefits that these users experience are being compared to the value of two parking bays, as we believe that the community of Sea Point should be seen as far more important than the reclamation of two parking bays.”

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