These small outdoor spaces work well in cities worldwide and have been successfully trialled in Newtown, and Cuba, Allen and Marion Streets.
To keep demonstrating how they bring life and creativity to a neighbourhood, three new trial parklets are giving people more space to relax outdoors in Cuba Street while the summery weather lasts.
Parklets, which can include plants, art, seating, and bike or scooter parking, are temporary structures that can be easily relocated or reused. They provide additional and accessible public space near businesses while leaving the adjacent footpath clear for people passing through.
As an incentive, and one of the ways we’re supporting businesses through COVID times, Wellington City Council isn’t charging any fees for the use of street space approved for parklets until at least March 2023.
Mayor Andy Foster says where businesses are keen to have a parklet and they can be safely installed, the Council is happy to support them to help make the city centre and suburban shopping centres more vibrant.
“The central city is our fastest growing residential neighbourhood, and we are already seeing a lot more people living in and around our suburban centres too, so innovative ways to create more outdoor space for people to enjoy are important,” he says.
A number of businesses are already working on parklet designs and getting applications in.
Greig Wilson, director for Epic Hospitality, is hoping to develop a parklet outside Eva Beva and El Barrio in Dixon Street, and in front of the Vinyl Bar and Shady Lady in Courtenay Place.
If approved, he would like to see both up and running in spring.
“I’m delighted the Council has put this initiative together to support businesses and create more outdoor space for people. It’s going to help bring life and some normality back to the city.”
Lydia Suggate, who owns and operates Mockingbird on Courtenay Place and Nolita on Cuba Street, already has applications in for both businesses. Subject to approval, she hopes the parklets can be under construction in 4 to 6 weeks.
“The city centre is currently the quietest I've ever seen it, aside from lockdowns. This is partly because a lot of people have COVID or are isolating, but also because a good portion of customers are concerned about being inside. We have customers asking to sit near open windows or outside regularly, as the benefits of being outside to help lessen the spread of COVID are well documented.
“Longer term parklets are a great way to help increase the vibrancy of the city, and Wellingtonians do take any opportunity to be outside when the weather is good.”
Lydia says bringing more plants and greenery into the city is not only environmentally beneficial but attractive.
“It helps Wellington create an atmosphere of being a fun and friendly city, and it will help revive the streets. In the long term, if COVID is still with us or we have new variants, the structures will already be in place to help businesses avoid such a downturn in the future.”
Information and a design guide are available on the Council’s website so interested businesses can work out if an area near them is suitable for a parklet.
As parklets are usually adjacent to a traffic lane, lots of things are considered to make sure a location and design is going to be safe and suitable. Council staff will be available to help anyone interested, and in places where parklets are an option, the aim is to provide approval for them within seven to 10 days so businesses can get them in place as quickly as possible.