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MISSING: This Capitol Hill ‘streatery’

On one hand, the City of Seattle’s dabbling in relatively lightweight experiments in tactical urbanism should be lauded for its ability to test small, relatively inexpensive and unobtrusive concepts on the fly. On the other, it can make it look like nobody gave a shit about the principles behind the experiments in the first place when they are removed — poof — without a trace.

On 15th Ave E, one of those installations meant to reshape and help us rethink city streets has disappeared.


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The 15th Ave E streatery — an architectural and professionally constructed installation of planters and benches that displaced a parking spot or two in front of the former home of the Sugar Plum vegan sweet shop — was removed in recent weeks after its sponsoring business closed.

The Seattle Department of Transportation which administrates the streatery and parklet program meant to help businesses and organizations replace small amounts of street parking with public space installations says it doesn’t know what happened to the 15th Ave E structure. “The permit holder renewed the permit for the parklet in July, but didn’t notify us before removing the parklet,” a spokesperson said, calling parklets and streateries “a great way for community members or businesses to help make their street into a more welcoming and pleasant place to walk and spend time.”

“We support the program and encourage people to create their own parklets,” the spokesperson said. “If a new tenant were to apply for a parklet in this location we would very likely approve the application.”

We’ve checked in with Sugar Plum ownership and designer Graham Baba but haven’t heard back about the streatery’s whereabouts. The streatery was put in on 15th in the summer of 2016 as part of a small wave of installations across the neighborhood. Drivers, congrats — you have a few parking spots returned to the 15th Ave E pool.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill’s parklet roster recently expanded with a new set of benches and planters in front of 12th Ave cheese tea specialist Atulea. It joins four official streateries across the neighborhood in front of Montana and in front of Hula Hula along E Olive Way, one in front of Lost Lake on 10th Ave, and one on Melrose in front of Mamnoon.

You can learn more about the program at seattle.gov.


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4 thoughts on “MISSING: This Capitol Hill ‘streatery’

  1. I’ve been waiting to see what would happen to this little parklet… Sadly, most of the plants had been allowed to die, and there was often a general vibe of trash and neglect to the little thang. It was too bad, because it was such a nicely designed little structure (with attention paid to accessibility, even!) and you could see it doing amazingly outside of, say, Molly Moon. Unfortunately, it was often as empty as Plum was… Except that one night when I walked by and three local burlesque legends were sitting there! That was awesome.

  2. I was waiting in the parking spot right next to this on Sunday, 11/24, waiting for my wife to pick up food, and saw a crew dismantling the structure and packing the pieces into a truck. They were not wearing city-sponsored gear, but it did not look fishy (at the time). It also did not look like a hack job, they were taking their time with each piece and looked like they were going to reconstruct it elsewhere.

  3. Thank you for reporting on this! I’m Howie, co owner of neighboring business Red Chair Salon. I’m looking into bringing this parklet back (with a design that doesn’t flood the sidewalk). Unfortunately the former tenants were *very* poor stewards of this parklet. As far as I know, I was the only person taking care of this parklet (sweeping / removing garbage and debris, and did what I could to keep the ends free of mud so drainage could occur). Unfortunately, I could not revive the plants. The parklet was removed without anyone’s knowledge and was not happy when I saw it being taken down. I would have gladly taken this project over had I known in advance. Let’s see what happens. Stay tuned!

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