Parklet may not return to the Hill

May 2, 2014
By

The Hill’s parklet may not return this spring due to controversy between its partner businesses.

A parklet is a small, semi-permanent public space that resembles a deck, created from two to three parking spaces. Mission Hill’s parklet, which debuted at 1524-1528 Tremont St. last year, was one of the first three in the city, part of a pilot program.

The parklet was maintained by the neighborhood businesses there: Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta Express and Mike’s Donuts. But Mike’s owner Maria Weinograd had criticized the parklet plan for parking and safety impacts and lack of transparency. Mike’s now appears to be rejecting a second year of the parklet.

Lilly’s owner Matthew Postal told the Gazette this week that the parklet has not been reinstalled due to push-back from his “neighbor.” When asked if that meant Mike’s Donuts, he said, “You said it, not me.”

When the Gazette called Weinograd, she directed the Gazette to speak to the City before the call abruptly ended. A follow-up call went directly to voicemail.

Postal said he still wants the parklet to return.

“I’m trying everything I can to get [the parklet] back. I have a petition with over 1,000 signatures going. I think it definitely improved the neighborhood,” Postal said.

Mission Hill Main Streets Executive Director Richard Rouse told the Gazette last week that it seems like the parklet designed with the input of Mission Hill residents will not be returning and will be placed in Roslindale instead, he said.

“I was told by the City they didn’t want to put it back here. It caused too much conflict, too much controversy,” Rouse said.

Boston Transportation Department (BTD) Director of Planning Vineet Gupta would only tell the Gazette that BTD is working with the businesses to find a solution and expects a decision within 10 days. BTD Transportation Planner Rachel Szakmary told the Gazette she was “not at liberty to say” whether the parklet was returning to Mission Hill or not.

Roslindale Village Mains Streets Director Ben Summer told the Gazette that Roslindale Village is “under consideration” for a parklet, “but we’re not sure which one we might get.”

Each parklet cost the City between $8,000 and $20,000 to create and install.

Gupta previously told the Gazette that while parking did seem to be a problem, the blocks between Brigham Circle and Roxbury Crossing tend to foster many more walking commuters than drivers.

As the Gazette previously reported, the parklet was designed and approved in only a single, lightly attended meeting. The public had no input on its location. The City did not reveal the design and installation costs until the Gazette filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

The parklet at 1524-1528 Tremont St. on its opening day, Sept. 12, 2013. (File Photo by Richard Rouse)

The parklet at 1524-1528 Tremont St. on its opening day, Sept. 12, 2013. (File Photo by Richard Rouse)

One Response to Parklet may not return to the Hill

  1. Parker Abdo on May 2, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Just down the road at Wentworth Institute of Technology, we designed Parklets 3 years ago in a mechanical class. It took into account safety, efficiency and the benefits/disadvantages. In the end, my group came up with a design made of recycled, full size dumpsters. The heavy material was safer for customers and was also easy to move, just like a regular dumpster.

    If the city needs ideas to keep the parklets, I suggest looking to WIT for possible solutions. It’s amazing what brilliant minds can come up with when given 2-4 weeks to plan, while keeping efficiency, safety and cost in mind.

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