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A modular mini-park in the parking lane

Walklet is a modular system for extending the sidewalk into the parking lane, offering an opportunity to redesign cities with a new kind of user-generated urbanism. Designed by Rebar to take advantage of the recent movement in major American cities to create a legal process to extend the pedestrian zone into the parking lane quickly and inexpensively (and leverage private energy to do so), the Walklet uses a “kit of parts” approach to creating urban public space. Various modules are available that link together along the curb line to extend the width of the sidewalk by about 7 feet / 2.1m. Each module works independently and together with others to create a customized living environment in the pedestrian right-of-way. Currently, available modules include high tables, benches, planters, bike racks and flat extensions.

Compared with traditional “bricks and mortar” approaches to permanently redesigning the streetscape, Walklet offers a number of benefits: it is fast, flexible, and can be adapted to changing conditions. When it is no longer needed (if a permanent streetscape improvement is completed), it can be re-used elsewhere. As such, it is like a specialized organism that operates at the edge of change in the urban ecosystem. Compared with costs of permanent sidewalk improvements, which can cost on the order of $1.5M per block, Walklet is less expensive by orders of magnitude–a potential boon to cash-strapped municipalities that want to initiate positive changes but don’t have the budget for large scale capital projects.

The Walklet system is built of durable steel frames which are galvanized to last outdoors, and decked with FSC-certified hardwood or rapidly renewable, composite bamboo lumber. Recent designs feature waterjet cut profiles and decorative patterns in the steel end pieces. The first three installation sites were made possible by the City of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks Program and funded with private contributions.

Walklet are available for purchase. For more information on the Walklet system and ordering inquiries, see the project’s commercial website.

Date: Ongoing; First installed May 2010
Location: 22nd and Bartlett Street, Columbus Ave and Green Street, San Francisco, CA
More locations coming soon.


Related
Walklet product website