CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Parklets are becoming increasingly popular in businesses throughout the country, enhancing the vibrancy of areas and providing flexible options for entrepreneurs.
On Tuesday, Corpus Christi City Council approved a new pilot program that will allow Lucy's Snackbar on Chaparral Street to apply for a parklet -- a specially-built platform that extends outdoor seating into street spaces currently designated for parking.
Lucy's Snackbar owner Justin Gainan said this will increase the establishment's opportunity for seating.
"It will offer roughly 20 more seats, or customers; foot traffic, visual opportunity for the city to activate the streetscape a little better," he said.
Downtown Management District Executive Director Alyssa Barrera Mason said the use of parklets became more popular and necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In Downtown Corpus Christi, we love outdoor dining and we love patios for businesses to have spaces outside that people could come and patronize their business," she said. "It really helped a lot of the businesses down here survive during the pandemic."
Businesses applying for a parklet permit could also be eligible for $20,000 in ARPA funds to pay for the structure. The pilot program also requires applicants to pay a fee for the use of parking spaces.
Application & Review - $150
Resubmission - $50
Inspections - $75
Annual Parklet License (per parking space) - $800
During the city council meeting, City Public Works Deputy Director Sarah Munoz said the department will be working closely with Lucy's Snackbar owners to present the application, along with the final parking policy, on April 12.
"We will be working with the business to get the process rolling to work with them on their specifications on their parklet," she said. "To make sure they meet all of their requirements, to be in the city right-of-way."
City leaders are considering making this pilot program permanent. Businesses must meet general guidelines to operate a parklet.
- only be housed on streets with speed limits of no more than 30 miles per hour, and have on-street parking;
- have liability insurance;
- be ADA compliant;
- not interfere with drivers' visibility;
- install safety buffers and traffic control devices;
- have acknowledgement of parklet placement by adjacent business owners
- have a valid annual city license, with renewals and inspection
Furnishings also must be properly maintained at closing, and during inclement weather, as well as the parklet structure.