Parklets at Molly Moon

parkletsChinatown_ID-Photo-114The city recently announced a new “Parklet” program, partnering with local businesses to convert small areas, typically one or two parking spaces, into public enjoyment space, and Molly Moon’s on 45th and in Madrona are on the pilot program list.

The concept began in San Francisco, where the ReBar, an art studio, launched the first parklet in in 2005. It was open for just two hours, but it launched PARK(ing) Day, a nation-wide temporary parklet program. .

Emilia Arnold, Parklet project manager for MM’s, says:

We’ll be constructing a parklet outside of our Wallingford shop on 45th where we hope ice cream eaters and their friends (four-legged & otherwise) will use the space to have a seat, chat & basically just enjoy the neighborhood.

We’re hoping to have both parklets open by June, subject to the program’s timeline. One of our main goals here at Molly Moon’s is to create a great community gathering place with each of our shops, and we’re hoping our parklet will extend our community space to the street in a way that can benefit the entire neighborhood. We’re still finalizing the design, but we plan to incorporate some fun, playful elements & greenery.

The pilot program launched in summer 2013 with the opening of the first parklet at Montana Bar in Capitol Hill. Two additional parklets, hosted by Chinatown/International District Business Improvement Area and City Hostel in Belltown, were permitted during the first phase of the program and will be installed this spring.

The program is an experiment. The city expects to complete evaluations and make recommendations about whether to proceed with a formal program by the end of 2014.

(Photo of design for Seattle International District parklet)

  1. wildnwonderful said,

    I am highly opposed to this. We are short of parkign in this area already. thi sis another sneaky move by the city officials to decrease parking in ‘ the interests of the community”. Ha! Has anyone noticed the HUGE construction sites just opened on Stone Way yet? 1 is directly south of Bastyr and the other another block south on other side of street. I bet they are for more apartment multi-use first floor buildings with limited parking. And no green and only steel and brick. Anyone ever heard of necessary wetlands?

    Sat, April 19 at 9:28 am
  2. Frankie said,

    I don’t care, but the architect office in the craftsman on that corner is probably excited that his retaining wall will stop being a bench for Ice Cream fanatics. Also, when are they going to demolish that burned-out house above the old sushi place?

    Sat, April 19 at 9:36 am
  3. wildnwonderful said,

    I am also curious about that. I believe there was an article here about 7 or so months ago.. November? October? in which the owner asked the community to be patient a little longer.

    Sat, April 19 at 10:37 am
  4. Anne Leache said,

    Love this idea. I have seen it work beautifully in other cities. It really promotes a community atmosphere. Yeah!!

    Sat, April 19 at 11:19 am
  5. Donn said,

    Not so much multi-use – the story I heard is their street front will be mostly “live/work”, which is a fig leaf for street front residential. Prescott provides a preview.

    Sat, April 19 at 11:48 am
  6. Jeff Dubrule said,

    Oh noes! Teh parkingz! ZOMG!!! If one spot goes to benefit a (awesomely-successful) local business today, tomorrow all of 45th will be nothing but bike lanes & hippie communes! The terrorists have won!

    Sat, April 19 at 12:48 pm
  7. Lisa said,

    Stupid idea and should be fought at every turn. Having tables and chairs on sidewalks in front of businesses is adequate for al fresco space. Taking parking away from these spots is more of that social engineering crap disguised as a “public enjoyment” space. Businesses should be fighting this, too, as it takes away parking for potential customers. If anyone has seen the existing parklet on Capit0l Hill, notice it’s right in the middle of a busy restaurant/pub area that could use the parking. Parking is tight enough in this city and I’m really sick of what we do have available to us disappearing at every turn, figuratively and literally!

    Sat, April 19 at 2:25 pm
  8. wildnwonderful said,

    Thank you Lisa. And it’s an extended move with those bus bumps which slow all traffic to a bus crawl.

    Sat, April 19 at 2:44 pm
  9. Nancy Treder said,

    Thank you Molly Moon’s!!! This is a great for our community! Now my family and I can chat with neighbors instead of walking away. We’ll be back for more!!!

    Sat, April 19 at 3:18 pm
  10. Jeff Dubrule said,

    What if I told you that making sure it was easy for people to drive cars to bars & pubs around here was not actually the safest thing for Wallingford?

    Sat, April 19 at 4:29 pm
  11. Lisa said,

    You are free to walk down to Wallingford Center to sit and chat with your neighbors while enjoying your ice cream or up to Good Shepherd or park your keester on any number of raised planters in the vicinity. You don’t need to negatively impact the rest of us with your physical roadblock, er, excuse me, “parklet”. Let’s not turn Wallingford into a pedestrian mall with no cars allowed anywhere.

    Sat, April 19 at 4:40 pm
  12. Lisa said,

    Note I said “RESTAURANT/pub area”. People who don’t live near these places might like the opportunity to frequent them, but if there is no place to park, probably won’t. I don’t recall reading anything about rising numbers of drunk drivers causing problems after having been at restaurants or pubs in certain areas of our city. Lack of parking and increased parking time restrictions and fees attached to the remaining ones definitely hurt downtown businesses (see any Seattle Times/Seattle Weekly/Stranger story about it). Sounds like you want to restrict Wallingford businesses only to people who will walk to them…?

    Sat, April 19 at 4:45 pm
  13. Jeff Dubrule said,

    No, they can bike, or take the bus, or a cab, or an Uber/Lyft/whatever, as well.
    Otherwise, please don’t come here, thanks.

    Sat, April 19 at 4:57 pm
  14. Nick said,

    Awesome. Our sidewalks on 45th are too narrow for outdoor seating, and this idea will greatly expand the life on this important commercial avenue. (I agree that it is past time that the eyesore of the burned out shell next door needs to be removed.)

    Sat, April 19 at 6:39 pm
  15. Lisa said,

    Wow, Jeff, I wasn’t aware Wallingford was your own private compound that let you make the rules of entry. Your attitude belongs at one of those gated communities with the security guard in the hut. In the meantime, to all who want to explore the wondrous charms of Wallingford, welcome! I and others, however, will not welcome parklets.

    Sat, April 19 at 8:00 pm
  16. Cameron said,

    Why not? That sounds pretty amazing to me.

    Sat, April 19 at 10:40 pm
  17. wildnwonderful said,

    While I am against the city willy nilly reducing parking on whim.. I read and hear the love and loyalty of Molly Moon lovers. Maybe their success needs to thrust them to purchase larger venues or stores.. they are right next to a burned store which might go for a low price.. thus they have a larger space( no need to serve on the street so to speak) and the glutted place is renovated. Win Win

    Sun, April 20 at 6:09 am
  18. alison said,

    From my perspective, it’s the soulless CVS that I dread. This, on the other hand is a bit more charming and community-focused, so I’m all for it. Anything to make 45th a more fun place to be as opposed to simply a functional place (aka, have to get groceries and prescriptions), is much needed.

    Sun, April 20 at 7:19 am
  19. Real Estate Gals said,

    We think the parklet program is great. This parklet will sacrifices one parking space, yes, but what matters more? ONE space, or all the other benefits to the community, local business, and walkability? We looked at studies and explained the reasons for our excitement at: http://realestategals.com/why-we-love-seattle-parklets/

    Mon, April 21 at 8:44 am
  20. elefunk said,

    These parklets have worked well in Capitol Hill without causing problems, and Capitol Hill’s parking situation makes Wallingford’s look like an empty suburb.

    Love this idea! :-)

    Mon, April 21 at 2:36 pm
  21. Dan Knug said,

    This is perfect for Molly Moon! Profit driven, they chose to locate in a small space rather than provide seating for the hoards of customers who line up down the block. Now they get a free extension of their dining area complements of the city, giving them an advantage over other small businesses like Fainting Goat. How about moving the parklet around so all businesses can benefit instead of the ones who are trendy and savvy enough to take advantage of the city program? It would help the less well known businesses draw in customers. Lord knows MM doesn’t need to do that.

    Mon, April 21 at 3:19 pm
  22. Donn said,

    To be strictly accurate, it isn’t free. The city estimate for permitting and construction is $15K. Get some Fainting Goat and head over to the parklet, it’s only a couple minutes away.

    Mon, April 21 at 4:13 pm
  23. Nancy Treder said,

    City of Seattle does not pay for parklets, each one is privately funded and privately maintained. Learn more here: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets_faq.htm#faq1

    Mon, April 21 at 9:15 pm
  24. Dan Knug said,

    $1,500 in permits is essentially free (especially when an ice cream cone costs $5). What’s the equivalent cost per month of 250 square feet of commercial space on 45th? About $1,000. So that’s what the city is giving MM. The estimated build out cost of $15K is recouped vis a vis free square footage in just over a year. Yes, I realize the parklet is open to all, but I have a feeling the parklet will be built with that slick MM psuedo-industrial-cute aesthetic that will make it look like the extension of MM that it essentially is. Think you won’t get some funny looks if you wander in there with gelato from FG or a burrito from Rancho Bravo?

    Tue, April 22 at 12:16 pm
  25. Nancy Treder said,

    Thanks for the great idea! We can eat our dinner in the parklet and then get some Molly Moon’s! It’s a win win!

    Tue, April 22 at 12:31 pm
  26. Rickvid_in_Seattle said,

    I am dubious.

    Parking is certainly an issue, despite the childish snark of a commenter or two here. There are six other businesses on that side of the block, not counting Sun cleaners as they have their own parking; what have they to say about this? I do not know that any of the restaurants are take away places like Molly’s.

    Parklets are rather like a business posting a sign saying “My customers only in this parking space.” The space is removed from use to benefit one business, even if it is open to all users. Given Molly Moon’s crowds, it will very likely be jammed by them most of the time.

    45th can be really busy and fast. How enjoyable will it be to sit a foot from zooming cars, trucks, busses, and motorcycles? Or, if they are stopped, how about having a nice topping of exhaust with that cone?

    Finally, how much use will it get in winter? We are hearty souls here in Seattle, but still, sitting in the dark, cold, and rain eating ice cream will not be popular. Not to mention getting a dash of spray for the cone, too.

    I think this will be popular with a small segment of people for a while, become a point of contention and resentment, and get little use much of the year.

    Tue, April 22 at 3:04 pm
  27. Donn said,

    To be strictly accurate, $15K is $15,000, not $1,500. You’re sure supposed to be free to eat Fainting Goat gelato there. The design guidelines include the provision “Furniture must be distinct from any other used by a sponsoring business.”, evidently to avoid the impression that the parklet is for MM customers.

    Tue, April 22 at 3:08 pm
  28. Dan Knug said,

    To be strictly accurate, the permitting fee paid to the city IS estimated to be $1,500. Buildout costs are estimated to be $15K ($15,000). Rent to city for MM’s Annex is $0K ($0). If you think MM is doing this to build community, you are mistaken. MM is getting something (almost) free from the city that significantly improves their profit. I do see that furniture must be distinct, but it says nothing about the color scheme or general aesthetic not matching. Something the pro-pedestrian set should consider…if this parklet is right in front of MM, just think what that will do to pedestrian traffic flow on the sidewalk.

    Tue, April 22 at 11:20 pm

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