seattle parklet Photo: Mission Bicycle Company/Flickr

Last weekend, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray hosted ribbon-cutting ceremonies for two prototype “pavement parks,” one in the First Hill neighborhood and another at 9th Avenue and University Street.

The pavement parks are a first for Seattle and aim to provide outdoor communal areas for residents in neighborhoods without traditional green space. Mayor Murray said the parks will “give people a chance to be outside, have open space, to share community with their neighbors, have a little fun.”

Capitol Hill Seattle originally reported on the tactical urbanism plans and later spoke with Susan McLaughlin of the Seattle Department of Transportation. She addressed safety concerns since the pavement parks will be located in close proximity to traffic areas. “We’ve been thoughtful in terms of the edge lines and the barriers and the color selection so that it’s really easy for drivers to understand that this isn’t a roadway anymore.”

The color McLaughlin refers to is a bright green shade that is rarely used in other municipal pedestrian or vehicle zones. The pavement parks will have shaded seating, ping-pong tables and even host live music on occasion. Each park will also provide community programming for locals with a trivia night to be held at 9th and University later this month.

The pavement parks are another installment of the tactical urbanism movement happening in cities like San Francisco and New York. In the summer of 2013, Seattle launched a parklet campaign with goals to “convert a few on-street parking spots into open spaces for all Seattleites to enjoy. They are cost effective tools for increasing out city’s public open space.”

Since the pilot program began, the city has aided the creation of 11 privately funded parklets and streateries in densely populated neighborhoods. Interested in creating your own parklet for the city? Check out the handbook here.

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