Parklets are Coming to Montclair Center!

BYOP – Build Your Own Parklet – on Sunday, October 2, 2016 during Montclair Center’s Open Streets Festival. The festival is part of a national movement to “open” streets for walking, jogging, bicycling, dancing, and socializing, free from traffic.  BYOP demonstrations will be a key feature. Also – yes, it’s true – the Tour de Montclair is back and will begin and end at the festival! Pre-registration is strongly encouraged!

But, wait. “What the heck is a ‘parklet’?”, you ask?

A parklet is a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street. And Montclair Township is taking a bold step to improve the flexibility of its streets by testing a modification to the zoning code to allow alternative uses in parking spaces called “parklets” with a Pilot Parklet Program in Montclair Center on Glen Ridge Avenue.

What’s really exciting is this Pilot Parklet Project will allow the Glen Ridge Avenue Area Merchants (GLAM) to test different ideas to define Glen Ridge Avenue as a flexible street and place-destination similar to Church St and S. Park St.

Bike&Walk Montclair’s own John Sullivan, crafted this great visual description including clips from Montclair Township Plannning Dept.,  Montclair Center BID, San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks Program, The Better Block, and GLAM business owners themselves!

Still not sure what we’re talking about? Here’s more from Together North Jersey’s “Beyond The Curb” publication:

  • Parklets are extensions of the sidewalk from the curb into the street: they are installations of public seating, art, plants and other elements, typically located in one or more parking spots and protected from traffic.
  • They are places to gather, eat and drink, celebrate and create, work, play, and build community. With numerous placemaking benefits, these public spaces can make downtowns a more desirable place to live and work, and a more attractive destination.
  • Parklets will not only increase public space, but will support walking and biking opportunities and foster creative community interaction in places throughout New Jersey.
  • Underutilized parking can be reactivated seasonally to support downtown activity and placemaking.
  • As installations of art, parklets can support local artists, ranging from craftsmen and designers to painters and musicians.
  • Through use of locally sourced materials and plantings, parklets can be demonstrations of sustainable practice.
  • Encouraging people to socialize and linger in downtown locations, parklets can also provide a customer boost to nearby businesses.
  • When located nearby to bus stops or train stations, parklets can offer riders a more pleasant place to wait.
  • If well-programmed, parklets can become places for spontaneous and creative community interaction, and when coupled with bicycle parking, may foster reduced car usage for short trips.

BIke&Walk Montclair’s role in supporting this project is in line with our mission to support policies, programs, and street designs that make walking and biking easier.

The 2016 Tour de Montclair and the Open Streets Festival are made possible through a strong partnership with Bike&Walk Montclair, the Montclair Center BID and Montclair Township.  Generous event sponsors include Schumacher Insurance, Partners for Health and Mulvey Custom Contracting.  The Montclair Art Museum, Montclair Public Library and Montclair State University will be providing activities at the festival.