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Pittsburgh's First Parking Space Parks Proposed Outside Allentown and Downtown Restaurants

 Mayor William Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh are excited to announce the initial two applicants in the 2018 Spark Pilot Program, which will create small street parks outside businesses in Downtown and Allentown. 

A Spark is a small park or street park. It is a sidewalk extension creating a temporary, public seating area comprised of one to two parallel parking spaces. They are placed in commercial areas and intended to generate more on-street pedestrian activity supporting a healthy sidewalk culture and nearby businesses. 

The pilot – a project of the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure and the Department of City Planning – is part of Pittsburgh’s overall strategy for creating safe, complete streets and new open spaces.  

"The streets and sidewalks around our neighborhood business districts are often untapped resources. The Spark program is a new way for all Pittsburghers to think creatively and re-use public space," Mayor Peduto said. 

The City is testing the program with two applicants before opening the program up citywide. The initial two applicants are Bae Bae's Kitchen at 951 Liberty Avenue Downtown and Onion Maiden at 639 East Warrington Avenue in Allentown. 

Resolutions approving both Sparks will be introduced to Pittsburgh City Council tomorrow. 

Bae Bae's Kitchen is proposing building a small greenhouse with seating in a parking space in a short block of Liberty Avenue with dedicated 24-hour parking. The greenhouse will feature an integrated rain barrel for watering plants and feature movable tables and chairs. 

Kitchen employees will maintain the greenhouse and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will store the structure in the winter. The location of the Spark compliments the PDP's Life on Liberty initiative, which seeks to prioritize pedestrian connections and safety, create dedicated transit amenities, reduce sidewalk congestion, and increase business opportunities in the area. 

The PDP and adjacent business owners and residents filed letters of support for the Liberty Avenue Spark with DOMI. The estimated budget is $11,498 with installation slotted for next month. 

In Allentown a steel and wood deck with seating is being proposed in a space in front of Onion Maiden and neighboring Skull Records. It has the support of the Hilltop Alliance, the Allentown CDC, the Allentown Business District Committee and adjacent property owners. 

There is currently no outdoor seating or dining in the business district and stakeholders are hoping the Spark will help attract new customers to the corridor as well as provide an outdoor gathering space for local residents and the neighboring Allentown Senior Center.  

The estimated budget is $7,400 and it is planned to be installed next month. 

Costs for the projects are covered by the applicants and their supporting organizations. 

Sparks are public spaces, meaning that even though a particular business is the applicant, they are designed to be used by anyone, not only patrons of the sponsoring business.  

Other business districts, business owners, community groups and designers elsewhere around Pittsburgh are encouraged to re-think the way that their streets are occupied. Following the 2018 pilot year, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure is designing a permanent Spark program, with applications for additional Spark projects planned to be available this summer. 


Source: City of Pittsburgh

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