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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami To Put Sidewalk Caf233s In Streets

Miami To Put Sidewalk Caf233s In Streets

Written by on May 30, 2013

By Meisha Perrin
Creative changes are coming to streetscapes throughout Miami as commissioners last week approved letting the Miami Parking Authority decorate the streets with parklets.

Commissioners were all for scattering the public spaces that serve as an extension of the sidewalk all throughout the city in order to provide amenities and green space.

"This is the cutting edge of where today is," said Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff, who put the item on the agenda.

Parklets, which typically involve placing a platform over parking spaces at the same level as the sidewalk, allow businesses to extend outward and place amenities such as benches, tables, chairs and landscaping onto the decorative spaces.

Ordinarily, Mr. Sarnoff said, they’re used for the extension of a café.

The spaces don’t require permanent concrete and, according to Mr. Sarnoff’s presentation, are intended to be seen as a piece of street furniture, aesthetically enhancing the streetscape.

It’s a much faster and less expensive way for a city to bring sidewalk improvements to a neighborhood, he said — and the city would still collect money from the parking spaces being used.

According to the legislation, business owners would have to apply to the parking authority for a permit to operate a parklet and pay an application fee in addition to the base annual fee for the permit.

And if for some reason commissioners or business don’t like it, the good part is it’s not permanent, Mr. Sarnoff said, because it doesn’t require concrete.

In that case, he added, commissioners can simply let the pilot project sunset in a year.

But, said Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, the parklets are a great idea — and businesses in Buena Vista and the Design District and river restaurants would love to have it. To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.