Trading street parking for places to sit and mingle in front of businesses across Seattle, streateries and parklets have been mostly about planning since the first wave was created and installed a few years back. There has been a lull in the actual construction and placement of the features but it looks like the pace might be picking up — you’ll find a new streatery open this week on 15th Ave E. A Melrose parklet is coming next. Meanwhile, the Seattle Department of Transportation is also looking for Capitol Hill food and drink establishments that might want to test out its new program to make it easier to create a light-weight sidewalk patio set-up without some of the heavier design elements required in the past.
On 15th Ave E, Makini Howell is happy to have finally had the red tape cleared and contractor time booked to create her long awaited streatery in front of her vegan sweet shop, Sugar Plum. The new feature bumped a bike corral across the street to in front of Rione XIII. The new Sugar Plum-payed-for parklet was designed by Graham Baba architects and constructed by Weld and Glue. It features a garden design by Bevington Floral.
Meanwhile, another planned streatery in front of Mamnoon on Melrose Ave is also nearing construction this month, according to the restaurant’s management.
The parklets have been in planning since last year but the path to bringing them into the real world tends to meander. Last we checked, this was the roster of Hill parklets and streateries either constructed or being planned:
- Montana — E Olive Way (built!)
- Sugar Plum — (built!)
- Comet and Lost Lake — 10th/Pike
- Mamnoon — Melrose
- Bottleneck Lounge — E Madison
- Ernest Loves Agnes — 19th Ave E
The hybrid streateries combine a parklet concept with traditional sidewalk patios to create small seating and deck areas for customers in sections of the streetside typically reserved for parking. When the sponsoring businesses aren’t open, the streateries are intended to serve as public space.
UPDATE: Sugar Plum is celebrating the new parklet with free ice cream cones:
SDOT is also looking for restaurants and bars to be part of a trial of a new rule set for the city’s sidewalk cafes following changes to state liquor laws:
Thanks to a recent change by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, restaurants can now outline permitted sidewalk cafes with pavement markers instead of the standard 42-inch high fences. Modeled on the sidewalk seating used in many European cities, this fence-free option will allow Seattle restaurants to integrate their sidewalk cafes with adjacent public space and improve customer movement. Other U.S. cities, such as Portland and San Francisco already allow fence-free sidewalk cafes similar to those that will be tested in Seattle’s pilot program.
Under the pilot program, SDOT will install new “Cafe Boundary” pavement markers:
We will work with participants to install pavement markers on the sidewalk to outline the boundary of the cafe, as shown in the diagram below. Through this pilot permit, we will test the viability of a fence-free sidewalk cafe with applicants who are willing to provide feedback during our evaluation. Although the fence-free sidewalk cafes are intended to activate streets, create more vibrant neighborhoods, and support economic vitality, ultimately SDOT is committed to ensuring that our streets and sidewalks serve the traveling public. As such, City staff will pay particular attention to any negative impacts on pedestrian mobility and safety that may arise during the pilot phase.
In 2011, SDOT revised its sidewalk cafe rules to allow tables and chairs to be placed in areas between tree wells.