On Powell Street, Mayor Lee unveiled the latest addition to the city's roster of parking spaces-turned-parks this morning. As far as these parklet projects go, the Powell Street Promenade is the city's most ambitious yet: Streetsblog is calling it a "Mega-parklet" (which is different from a "park", somehow). But it's also the most corporate-sponsored parklet to date. Some financial backing came from Audi of America, who saw the project as a creative solution to an urban design problem (or maybe they just liked the highly visible downtown location). Over at the Chronicle, architecture and urban design critic John King gives us some background on the world-class pedigree to go along with the world-class Union Square shopping:
...the Powell Street Promenade comes with a corporate sponsor, free Wi-Fi and a lofty price tag. The design is by landscape architect Walter Hood, 2009 recipient of a National Design Award from the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.According to Streetsblog, on an average weekend some 100,000 pedestrians trot through the stretch of Powell between Eddy and Geary, so if nothing else the widened sidewalks ought to help accomodate the out-of-town masses. And The City that Knows How could always use a little more free WiFi, even if the location means constantly being terrified of laptop swipers and iPad grabbers. To that point, reps from the Union Square Business Improvement District told the Chronicle that they'll be hiring "community service ambassadors" to filter out the riff raff.
The Pavement-to-Parks program has been widely applauded for curing the city's dearth of outdoor seating options and generally freeing up sidewalk space ever since the trial run parklet on Divisadero took root over a year ago.
In related parklet news, noted French restaurant Le Charm, located at Fifth and Folsom, recently applied for a parklet license outside the restaurant.