The Rosslyn Business Improvement District in Arlington, VA, launched the first parklet in the Washington, DC, metro area back in 2018. Before the COVID-19 pandemic made parklets an international craze, the Rosslyn BID simply wanted to do something creative, and spur a reevaluation of how people use public space.
The parklet is modest. It takes up just two parking spaces at the corner of North Oak Street and Wilson Boulevard. The parklet includes tables, chairs, and plantings.
Five years later, it continues to serve as an informal gathering spot where people can relax and enjoy outdoor seating. The Rosslyn BID calls the mini-park a feature that “promotes a rethinking of the usage of the public-right-of-way.”
In other words, the tables and chairs are more than just a whimsical feature in a bustling metro area. Rather, they’re an inspiration for citizens and leaders to consider the shape of the urban environment.
More on the enduring value of parklets appears in the October issue of Downtown Idea Exchange newsletter. Click to learn more about Downtown Idea Exchange and other resources for revitalizing downtowns and commercial corridors.