Downtown Bellingham parking spot transformed into 'parklet' until November

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 1, 2014 

Bellingham resident Jon Mayers sits on a parklet bench at it's new location on the corner of State Street and Chestnut Street Monday, March 31, 2014 in Bellingham.

EVAN ABELL — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

BELLINGHAM - North State Street is getting a temporary green space in front of the Herald Building.

Called a "parklet," the wooden benches and potted plants were set up in a curbside parking space on Tuesday, April 1, where they could remain until Nov. 1.

The idea is to provide outdoor spaces for people to gather in urban settings.

"It's providing a public open space in the downtown area," said Hannah Coyne, office administrator for Daylight Properties. "It also promotes pedestrians rather than cars. We are hoping it will bring more foot traffic to downtown businesses and State Street in particular."

Daylight owns the Herald Building.

The movable mini-park was first installed in summer 2012 in front of La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza on Railroad Avenue. Sustainable Connections helped put together the parklet with donated labor and supplies, so there was no cost to the city.

In its second year, the parklet went in front of Dashi Noodle Bar at 1311 N. State St.

This year, it was moved a couple of blocks down the street to the Herald Building at 1155 N. State St.

Daylight Properties applied with the city of Bellingham for a right-of-way permit to set up the parklet. The business also is paying the city's parking fund $6 a day, except for weekends and holidays, to make up for lost revenue for the metered parking space that's occupied by the parklet.

"It's a good program to promote alternative modes of transportation," said Clark Williams, superintendent of transportation with the city's Public Works Department.

Sustainable Connections would like to see greater interest in having more parklets installed around town but will need to address possible barriers to businesses that could include the expense of creating a parklet - which can cost up to $10,000 - and paying for the permit and parking.

"It has mixed reviews at this point," said Rose Lathrop, green building and smart growth manager with Sustainable Connections.

Lathrop added: "I think over time we'll be working with the city to try to define what those barriers are and remove them so we can continue to see the parklet program proliferate in the downtown."

Reach KIE RELYEA at kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2234.

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