Boston is starting their own alternative parking initiative in the city, thanks to the precedents of San Francisco and New York City. Boston.PARKLETS is a program within the city planning department to take back the streets for pedestrians.
They are part of the growing movement to reclaim urban space for pedestrians and bicyclists and promote public transit. Mayor Thomas M. Menino has proclaimed “the car is no longer king,’’ citing the environmental, aesthetic, and health benefits.
It remains to be seen how willingly Bostonians, known for fiercely coveting and protecting their parking spots, receive the parklets.
Vineet Gupta, planning director for the Boston Transportation Department, said the city will work with merchants and neighbors to find appropriate spots, with the first parklets probably appearing next spring. They would scarcely put a dent in the city’s 8,000 metered spaces and untold thousands of unmetered and resident-permit spots, but they would enliven areas with heavy foot traffic otherwise lacking in public amenities, he said.
The city will pay to design and install the first parklets, estimated to cost $12,000 each, while asking businesses, nonprofits, and civic associations to sponsor maintenance of plantings and furniture.