'Parklets' are coming to Downtown Jacksonville (for now)

"Parklets" coming to downtown Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The trial run for Parklets in downtown Jacksonville begin Friday.

Parklets are like mini parks that occupy parking spaces in urban areas, with tables and places to sit.

Parking spaces along Adams Street outside Brick House Coffee will transform into parklets.

Downtown Vision and the Urban Land Institute of North Florida are paying a combined $30,000 to test out parklets.

The pilot program coincides with international Park(ing) Day on Sept. 16, when more than a dozen temporary parklets will be set up around downtown.

"There are a lot of cities that have been doing this for awhile," says Jacob Gordon, CEO of Downtown Vision.

Gordon says the goal of parklets is to create an urban gathering space. The idea: with more gathering space, comes more foot traffic for the downtown businesses located nearby.

"Adding these spaces for people along blocks that don't really have those opportunities, you've really shown a lot more activity, and a lot more vibrancy in the urban core when you add those tables and chairs in a parking spot where you'd normally have a car," says Gordon.

For some, that in fact may be part of the hang up.

"It's hard to find a parking spot," says James Dale.

Parklets take away parking spaces downtown, where a lack of parking is already a common complaint.

"The reality is, out of 44,000 parking spaces, we're taking one or two, so we really feel this is a best practice," says Gordon.

Gordon says the parklet pilot program will go for one year. If all goes well, expansion will likely be on the horizon, with the idea of sponsorship from private companies.

"We're going to make sure it works well, and make sure it improves downtown," says Gordon.


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