Parking replaced by parklet outside Olympia coffee roaster

City’s third tiny park aims to boost pedestrian traffic in downtown corridor

Staff writerApril 24, 2014 

The city of Olympia has installed a new parklet in front of Olympia Coffee Roasting Company on Cherry Street near the city hall.

STEVE BLOOM — Staff photographer Buy Photo

The city’s third downtown “parklet” has opened outside the Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.

Located on Cherry Street, the parklet replaces one parking space with a covered public seating area.

“We really feel like the parklet is a positive thing for downtown,” said coffee shop co-owner Oliver Stormshak, noting a desire for more pedestrian traffic in the area. “We want Olympians to be proud of their city.”

The city and coffee shop collaborated on the project. Local architect firm SlowClouds designed the handicap-accessible parklet, which features a small rain garden and wooden benches that seat five to seven people. Stormshak said the project ended up costing about $17,000. The Parking and Business Improvement Area (PBIA) contributed a $3,500 grant. Zeigler’s Welding and Bicycle Homebuilding donated labor to the project.

The reduction in parking spaces on Cherry Street should have minimal impact, said Brian Wilson, the city’s downtown liaison. That block includes 80 total on-street parking spaces with an average occupancy of 65 percent during peak hours, said Wilson, citing a quarterly study by the city.

“The idea is using underutilized space to turn into public spaces with additional seating,” Wilson said. “I don’t anticipate there will be any negative parking impacts.”

The two other downtown Olympia parklets were installed in 2012: One in front of Jake’s bar on Fourth Avenue, and another outside Darby’s Café on Fifth Avenue. The parklet concept has been embraced in cities such as San Francisco, which launched an initiative to reduce the amount of underutilized space on wide streets and public rights of way.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869

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