University City District Unveils Philadelphia’s First Parklet

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NEWS RELEASE                                            

August 4, 2011

CONTACT: Lori Brennan, 215-243-0555 or [email protected]


University City District Unveils Philadelphia’s First Parklet


(Philadelphia, PA) -- University City District (UCD), in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the Philadelphia Department of Streets, and the offices of Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, will cut the ribbon today on the Philadelphia’s first “Parklet” – an innovative, temporary seating platform that provides residents with a space to take in the area’s lively streetscape. The Parklet is on 43rd Street, just north of Baltimore Avenue. The 40-foot-long, 6-foot-wide wooden platform is landscaped with planters and a decorative railing and furnished with nine café tables and eighteen chairs and all members of the community are encouraged to utilize this new public space. Over the next several months, this Parklet will be evaluated to determine if similar temporary spaces should be created elsewhere in the City. The ribbon will be cut by Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler, Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, State Representative James R. Roebuck, UCD Executive Director Matt Bergheiser, and UCD Director of Planning and Economic Development Prema Katari Gupta.


“University City, like much of Philadelphia, has an unmet demand for pedestrian amenities,” said Bergheiser. “Our pedestrian counts throughout the neighborhood grow and grow and we must keep pace. We are pleased to demonstrate that there are simple and low cost solutions to this growing demand for the infrastructure of walkability.”


"Parklets fit into the Mayor's sustainability agenda and the city's overall livability,” said Deputy Mayor Cutler. “This is a great opportunity for the City to support community innovation and we look forward to a successful pilot."


The Parklet provides residents and visitors to Baltimore Avenue a place to site, enjoy a cup of coffee, a quick sandwich, or just take in the area’s busy streetscape. While similar structures can be found in many European cities and also in San Francisco and New York, this Parklet is Philadelphia’s first. The space, which is situated in front of the Green Line Café, is open to the general public during the business’s regular business hours.


The Parklet was made possible by a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation and was designed by Philadelphia architecture firm DIGSAU. Partner Jules Dingle, a Spruce Hill resident, led this project. The project was fabricated by Bill Curran Design, which is located in Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood. UCD has ordered two additional Parklets, which will be installed in yet-to-be-determined locations around University City in the late summer. The café’s custom steel planters are filled with plantings including purple fountain grass, sweet potato vine, celosia, and agastache.


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