UCD, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and thanks to funding from the William Penn Foundation, piloted Philadelphia’s first Parklets, an innovative temporary seating platform that transforms parallel parking spaces into a place to sit, relax, eat and enjoy street life. Parklets are landscaped with planters and a decorative railing, furnished with movable café tables and chairs, and add a distinct vibrancy to the neighborhood. 

The Parklets' return is an effort coordinated between our Planning and Economic Development department, our Public Space and Maintenance   crews and, for the first time this year, participants in the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, who are currently enrolled in our landscaping program. 

This winter UCD gained national attention due to the publication of The Case for Parklets: Measuring the Impact on Sidewalk Vitality and Neighborhood Businesses, a study that provides data and recommendations based on analyses of six Parklets in University City from the 2013 season and their ability to bring more life to public spaces and more feet to neighborhood businesses. Key findings from the report included that: Parklets can attract an enormous number of users (well over 150 unique users over the course of a day in the 240 square feet that could otherwise have hosted just one or two parked cars); Parklet installation coincided with a substantial (an average of 20%) boost in sales for nearby businesses; Parklets can have substantial spillover effects to nearby sidewalks and spaces; and Parklet success can be predictable based on a few key environmental factors.

Visit the Parklets for yourself and enjoy outdoor seating. As of April 15, 2015, our Parklets will be located at the following locations:

Visit our 2015 parklets: 

  • 4040 Locust St. (hosted by Ramen Bar)
  • 261 S. 44th St. (hosted by Honest Tom’s Tacos and Lil’ Pop Shop)
  • 4239 Baltimore Ave. (hosted by Green Line Cafe)
  • 801 S. 47th St. (hosted by Fu-Wah Market)
  • 4903 Catharine St (hosted by Little Baby’s Ice Cream and Hibiscus Cafe)
  • 125 S. 40th Street (hosted by Hai St. Kitchen, Jake's Sandwich Board, Zesto Pizza, and Dunkin' Donuts)
If you are interested in hosting a parklet, please contact Nate Hommel at nate@universitycity.org