Berlin to build 100 new parklet meeting spots to replace car parking spaces
In a bid to open up public street spaces to the wider community, rather than reserving them for drivers, city authorities in Berlin are implementing a new 200.000-euro programme to build 100 new “parklets” - modules that extend pavements to provide more space for people to sit, meet and grow plants.
Up to 100 parklets to replace parking spaces in Berlin this year
Last week, Berlin Traffic Senator Bettina Jarasch attended the ceremonial opening of two new parklets on Straẞmannstraße and Petersburger Platz, both in Friedrichshain. The parklets are built by converting up to three car parking spaces into wooden structures with places for people to sit and grow plants.
Image credit: raumdialog, Hendrik Weiner
So far this year, 30 parklets have been built in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Mitte and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, with a further 35 to follow by the middle of the year. Another round of applications should start after the new budget is passed by the Senate, with local clubs and residents’ associations applying for funding to build their own parklets.
“Kiez-Parklets help enormously, because they redesign the street space and increase quality of life,” said Jarasch. “Where previously space was blocked for cars, residents can now enjoy and linger in green oases.”
District Councillor Annika Gerold added: “The public street space belongs to all of us. With our new Kiez-Parklets we are bringing more green into our residential areas for the people who live there. Communities will take care of the maintenance of their neighbourhood parklets together and thus strengthen the sense of community.”
Not all Berlin districts support parklets scheme
However, parklets aren’t universally popular in the German city, with just three districts so far taking part in the scheme. There has been concern, not only about antagonising drivers by reducing the number of available parking spaces, but also about possible noise complaints, with the meeting spots encouraging people to come together to chat or share a beer, especially when the weather is good.
Some city councillors are being quite vocal in their criticism. “Spandau is on the verge of a traffic collapse. In view of the huge number of houses being built, we need more capacity on the streets and not less,” CDU City Councillor Thorsten Schatz told Berliner Zeitung. “I will not contribute to worsening Berlin’s reputation as a traffic jam capital with parklets.”
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