Letter: Parklet a cost-effective improvement

July 12, 2013
By

It is puzzling that your paper seems to not be in support of the construction of a new park in Mission Hill. (“The parklet boondoggle,” editorial, June 14.) A park that is specifically designed to meet the needs and wants of the neighborhood, and, once constructed, will be maintained by private businesses. Businesses that see this effort as worthy of their attention and resources. Mission Hill would be lucky to be receiving such a coordinated public and private investment in a park—actually, it is receiving one.

The parklet that your paper reported on costing up to $25,000 on June 14 (“Parklet to cost up to $25K”) is in fact a very cost-effective and truly innovative way to give the citizens and visitors of Mission Hill a new park for people to congregate, enjoy the outdoors and, in a small way, improve the revered “street life” that great neighborhoods enjoy. 

I have advocated for the parklet program in both Mission Hill and the South End for well over a year now, and it will be a pleasure to be able to enjoy these new parks later this summer.

For such a small investment into a street, the public discussions around the installation of these parklets has been significantly more in-depth and involved then other cities who have already installed parklets. I would suggest your paper report more on the parklet’s successful installation than that your organization was not invited to a meeting. You will certainly enjoy the parklet, once installed, more than the planning meeting for the parklet that you missed! 

The professionals at the Boston Transport Department are working hard to include Boston in a larger international planning trend called “Tactical Urbanism.” I have had the pleasure of contributing to Tactical Urbanism since its inception in 2010. This movement is focused on the betterment of a city’s public spaces in days instead of decades. Utilizing strategic, low-cost installations such as parklets, that in turn improve the comfort and joy private citizens experience, Tactical Urbanism has given towns and cities a new set of tools for these budget-conscious times. Boston is trying hard to catch up with this trend. Our city has the potential to spring ahead of places such as New York, San Francisco and Portland, which have wholly embraced this way of improving their neighborhoods. Boston will need to welcome the small changes that parklets and other tactical installation create if we are going to become a stronger city.

Russell Preston

Principle Group

Boston

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