New Parklet Opened in Downtown

Get out and enjoy Seattle's latest space, the Chromer Building Parklet along Second Avenue
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Another parklet has officially opened in Seattle, this time downtown about a block away from Pike Place Market. Located at 1516 2nd Avenue (in front of the new Elysian Bar), the Chromer Building Parklet is one of more than 10 parklets--free public park-like spaces funded, designed, built and maintained by the applicant--that has popped up or is in the works around the city.

In June, a traditional-style parklet opened in the Chinatown-International District and back in August, we told you about a few more slated for the near future, including a grassy knoll for ice cream lovers at Molly Moon's in Wallingford, one at Molly Wizenberg’s pizza place Delancey in Ballard, another at Capitol Hill's 24-hour diner Lost Lake Lounge, and one planned for Cortona Café in the Central District.

The Chromer Building Parklet, designed by landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol in coordination with the Seattle Design Festival and developer Urban Visions, marks downtown Seattle's first minature park. Its simple design features a series of wooden platforms between red concrete seating blocks and will also have room for movable tables and chairs. One of the sections operates as a stage and will feature space for performances, art installations and will also serve as a seasonal stage for Seattle Design Festival installations.

"We think this is an ideal location for a parklet in downtown," Urban Visions ceo Greg Smith said in a press release. "The proximity to Pike Place Market and other downtown attractions makes this a great spot. Our neighborhood will continue to gain a sense of community with public spaces like this one."

The public spaces aren't without controversy, however. Concerns over parking issues, since parklets usurp one to two parking spaces when built, and worries over whether the 24-hour mini-parks will become a hub for illegal activity, late-night issues and homelessness are among the common complaints. Another is the potential loss of city revenue from meters or citations that the no-longer-there parking spaces would have incurred.

In August, we spoke to Jennifer Wieland, the public space program manager at SDOT and she assured us otherwise: "SDOT made the policy decision early on that the increase in public green space for pedestrians was a reasonable exchange for the city’s loss of revenue." (Revenue loss from parklets was estimated at about $4,600 per spot annually in San Francisco’s Mission area, for example, where the parklet program began.)

Regardless of how you feel about it, downtowners have another spot to perch while enjoying a bite from a nearby food truck or a cup of coffee. What do you think? Will you use the Chromer Building parklet? Sound off in the comments.