A number of cafes and the Grand View Hotel in Moreland are participating in the Moreland City Council ‘Parklet’ program. A ‘Parklet’ is created by removing on-street car parking spaces and essentially widening the footpath for public use such as for outdoor seating and planting – image of the Parklet at the Grand View Hotel below.
The program enables businesses to provide more outdoor seating, which is in demand even during the cooler months of the year. A six-month trial option is available for businesses wanting to measure its success and an annual ‘licence’ requires the payment of around $2,000 a year, depending on the number of car spaces rented, by business owners.
Perhaps the idea has some merit, but some questions:
- Why the need for business owners to reapply annually?
- Will there be a cap on the number of payments/trigger before Council decides to fund permanently the widening of the footpath?
- Is the privatisation of a public street for commercial gain the proper use of a public asset – and yet presumably the case for all outdoor on-footpath café seating areas?
Certainly, some lateral thinking in areas where parking demand is low or to be discouraged.