Parklets a triple treat to help cities bounce back

More people would be able to ride, meet, drink and eat at cafes and restaurants around Victoria when coronavirus restrictions ease if a plan to develop parklets out the front of businesses is followed.

A submission to the Andrews Labor Government from Bicycle Network proposes increasing patronage and opportunities for local businesses by converting 1,000 on-street car park spots to parklets to set up furniture, seating and planter boxes.

Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said parklets would help more people get out, be social and support local businesses while density limits are in place during the steps of coronavirus restrictions.

“Parklets are a triple treat that would help more people get out and enjoy our cities, reduce the risk of the virus spreading and give a bigger boost to businesses who have done it tough,” said Mr Richards.

“Tables, chairs, installations and planter boxes could be used by businesses to create their own unique shop front, while bike parking can also be used to encourage more people to ride to their local strip.”

A parklet could fit up to 11 people for seated food and drink service, in addition to existing indoor and footpath tables and chairs. Other retail businesses could also use parklets to display stock and increase customer numbers.

A parklet at the Grand View Hotel in West Brunswick before Melbourne's stage four lockdown.

The program would have businesses apply to the state government for money to install a parklet, with each parklet costing up to $14,755. The initial investment from state government would result in up to $71.4m increased business revenue in three months.

“The cost of each parklet covers planning, design and installation, furniture, bike parking, labour and compensation to councils for any lost car parking revenue,’ added Mr Richards.

“Businesses can use their parklet in any way they think will help encourage more customers and get them back on track. Businesses will continue to be creative in the way they operate during COVID and give our cities and towns some great vibrancy.”

Parklets would be available for any business in Victoria to apply for and not reserved only for those in the Melbourne CBD or suburbs. Some parklets already in operation in Melbourne include on Domain Road and throughout the Moreland council area.

See Bicycle Network’s submission Saving Victorian businesses with placemaking recommending investment in parklets.

Download submission

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