Parking spots are very wasteful things. They’re just car storage. Even when they are filled up, there’s nobody actually using the space.
There are far better uses for this space, and Torontoist looks at the concept of “Parklets” and how they work in Toronto.
A street with less car infrastructure is a street that is safer for bike use.
The City of Toronto provides design guidelines (PDF) for parklets but the current approach is being refined as part of a larger review of regulations surrounding outdoor cafes. In this context, “outdoor cafe” refers to more than sipping a cappuccino on a patio and encompasses a range of commercial and community uses on and around sidewalks.
Chris Ronson, a project manager for pedestrian projects with the City of Toronto, explains that the review takes a broad perspective on parklets in order to provide flexible solutions that “work for patrons but also work for pedestrians and neighbourhoods.” This means improving design guidelines not just for public spaces that extend into parking spots but also considering the advantages of new uses directly in front of buildings or in the buffer between the sidewalk and the street.