MOTU Spring Initiatives – Can’t Wait to See the Results

Philadelphia’s innovative Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities offered two creative game-changing opportunities to interested neighborhoods and civic groups this spring. This shows that Philly recognizes the increasing importance of park space and biking and how breaking up excessive on-street parking along smaller neighborhood streets can help invigorate the community’s character.

Get a Parklet in Your Neighborhood

A parklet is a small platform, the size of two parking spaces, with a combination of seating, tables, plants and artwork. In my opinion, parklets work best in conjunction with a commercial use activating the adjacent sidewalk – expanding the sidewalk seating area or acting as a front porch. This RFP cites that Philadelphia’s first parklet increased the adjacent Green Line Café’s revenue by almost 20%.

The city recognizes “that they work in University City” and “wants to work with other neighborhoods to build parklets for their own communities.” MOTU’s new “Parklet Program” allows interested communities to request permission to build parklets and provides grants of up to $5,000. Streets Department approval will only be given if the posted maximum speed on the proposed block is 35 mph or less, and the location does not block manholes, fire hydrants or impede curbside drainage. Additionally, 51% of residents and/or businesses on the proposed block must sign a petition indicating their approval of the proposed parklet. The RFP also provides details about dimensions, design, access, safety and maintenance. Parklets must be dismantled and stored by October 22nd.

Parklets will be designed by their prospective communities and built in three intervals this summer starting last month. According to the MOTU blog, at least seven applications were received from neighborhoods such as Overbrook and Fishtown.

Get a Bike Corral in Your Neighborhood

After a successful installation of a bike corral by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia last year, MOTU is building ten new bike corrals in high-demand areas throughout the city. Again, interested neighborhoods that can demonstrate a demand for bike parking were asked to submit a request to MOTU this spring. The bike corral will be of a standard design, will take up 1 car parking space and create safe parking space for up to 12 bikes.

Bike corral installation is set to occur between July 30 and September 15.

Even if you missed the RFP or application deadline, we should all be able to enjoy the benefits of these creations as they are implemented this summer and fall. I look forward to seeing the innovative designs, colorful constructions, and, as always, people enjoying the streets of Philadelphia.