Design/Build of a New Parklet on Frankford Ave


Last week the wife and I attended a wedding that had hired the lovely folks from Little Baby’s Ice Cream to serve deliciousness from their custom trike to their guests. I realized these guys were based in East Kensington and I’d never had the pleasure of ingesting their super premium Philly style ice cream, let alone discuss the joys of starting a small business so I took a break from “wiggling it” to strike up a conversation. While chatting I enjoyed their Bourbon Bourbon Vanilla flavor which went smashingly with the bourbon on the rocks in my other hand and briefly contemplated combining them.

Long story short, we chatted for a while and a few days later I got an email from one of the founders, Pete Angevine, inviting us to participate in the design/build of a new parklet they are putting on 2311 Frankford Ave just south of York St where their new store will be opening in the next few weeks. They have received a $5K grant from the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) which I didn’t even realize was going on. It sounds like 7 or more people applied, so hopefully we will see a number of new parklets popping up all over Philly. The local NKCDC is also a part of this parklet project.

We will all be meeting late next week to work on the final design of this parklet for Frankford Ave, so I thought we’d get a post up to post some of examples of parklets in Philly and beyond that will serve as inspiration.

Philly’s First Parklet

The talented crew from DIGSAU (architects for K’House cohousing) design Philly’s very first official parklet in University City at 43rd and Baltimore. Below are some shots of it completed with people enjoy the seating provided by Green Line Cafe and during construction. This parklet is 40′ long and takes up two parking spaces. It has over double the footprint of the one we will be building on Frankford and probably quadruple the budget.

Examples from San Fran – The Leader in US parklets

Abby Wilcox wrote a great summary of some of the top parklets in San Francisco for  the Bold Italic in January. All of the pics below are from her article – Parks & Recreation. Rumor has it that Frisco has over 20 parklets and growing each year. They have an actual permit process to apply for your own parklet that was inspired by Parking Day, which we’ve now had a number of years in a row in Philly as well.

Four Barrel is also outside of a coffee house and is meant to be a sort of urban balcony that is ideal for the best pastime in any city – people watching.

Fabric8 is an art gallery that developed this parklet with the intent to commission a different artist each year to design a new layout.

Mojo is a coffee/bike shop and their parklet was built for $5k and includes bike parking as well as extra seating.

This parklet was constructed 100% of found beach wood “like a shipwreck that brings people together.”

Rebar Art & Design Studio has designed four parklets and has been influential in the city’s adoption of the concept.

The San Francisco Great Streets Project has a full list of all of the parklets in the city and information on how to apply for a new one. It has a lot of links and great information for those wanted to dig deeper into the topic of parklets.

It seems like most other major cities are working on parklets now if they have not already built some. It does seem like Philly is ahead of the curve a bit on this one, which is great to see! Keep it up.

Anyone have any other examples they love of quality parklets? Put your links in the comments below.

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