_Parklets or park-less

A number of cafes and the Grand View Hotel in Moreland are participating in the Moreland City Council ‘Parklet’ program.  A ‘Parklet’ is created by removing on-street car parking spaces and essentially widening the footpath for public use such as for outdoor seating and planting – image of the Parklet at the Grand View Hotel below.

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The program enables businesses to provide more outdoor seating, which is in demand even during the cooler months of the year.  A six-month trial option is available for businesses wanting to measure its success and an annual ‘licence’ requires the payment of around $2,000 a year, depending on the number of car spaces rented, by business owners.

Perhaps the idea has some merit, but some questions:

  • Why the need for business owners to reapply annually?
  • Will there be a cap on the number of payments/trigger before Council decides to fund permanently the widening of the footpath?
  • Is the privatisation of a public street for commercial gain the proper use of a public asset – and yet presumably the case for all outdoor on-footpath café seating areas?

Certainly, some lateral thinking in areas where parking demand is low or to be discouraged.