The City of Oakland announced today new guidelines for a permanent Parklet program that will enable parklets that meet the new Program guidelines to be installed or remain in the public right-of-way. The new guidelines take effect on July 1, 2023.
“Every day Oakland’s incredible business community creates great customer experiences and reinforces Oakland’s reputation a destination for great food and shopping,” Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said, “We are excited to support that creativity and service with a sustainable City program that can give those business owners the security they need to plan their investments in parklets, while supporting the long-term needs of everyone to share public space. I look forward to seeing my fellow Oaklanders out there enjoying these fun spaces and supporting local merchants under this new program!”
“We are so excited to launch the permanent parklet program,” City of Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) Director Fred Kelley said. “Oakland was among the first cities to take aggressive, innovative action to support small businesses with our right-of-way during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to share that what began as an improvised pilot effort has evolved into a permanent, stable program that balances the needs of all Oaklanders. We look forward to helping parklets expand and thrive in Oakland.”
"Merchants’ parklets are a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of our small businesses in collaboration with the City of Oakland, working together to create safe outdoor spaces for commerce and dining,” Jack London Improvement District Executive Director Savlan Hauser said. “The City's parklet program will help ensure safety and sustainability of parklets as an important part of our City streets into the future."
The parklet program guidelines were developed based on lessons learned from Oakland’s temporary pandemic-era Flex Streets pilot program, as well as best practices gleaned from thirteen peer cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia. The new guidelines include requirements to increase pedestrian and bicyclist visibility and safety, conform with fire department guidelines, and improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
To refine the Parklet Program Guidelines, OakDOT staff hosted a series of “office hours” feedback opportunities in July 2022 and solicited feedback from Oakland’s Business Improvement Districts, existing Flex Streets Program permittees, regional agencies, and community members. Staff received more than 170 survey responses and letters from stakeholders.
The new parklet permit fee is expected to cost about $2,400 for the first year and $1,800 to renew. Permits will expire after 365 days and must be renewed annually. New parklet permit fees include a records management & technology fee, fees to cover staff time to review the application and to inspect the installed parklet, and an annual parking space rental fee. The City is also working to identify funding opportunities for businesses, as well as to develop an Equity Fee Waiver program. Later this spring, staff will bring to the City Council the proposed parklet fee amounts as part of the City of Oakland's annual update to the City's master fee schedule.
Parklet applicants must submit a completed two-page application along with site plan, elevations, and section views of the proposed Parklet; a certificate of insurance; and a maintenance agreement. If the proposed Parklet extends more than 3’ in front of a neighbor, applicants must also seek the neighbor's written consent. Business owners may apply for funds to help cover Parklet costs by applying to the City of Oakland Facade & Tenant Improvement Program: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/ftip-program
OakDOT plans to start enforcing the new Parklet permit after September 1, 2023, or as soon as City Council adopts the FY 2023 – 2024 Master Fee Schedule, whichever is later. OakDOT is committed to supporting businesses during the transition to the permanent Parklet Program and staff are available to answer any questions.
The City of Oakland rapidly created the Flex Streets program in 2020 to respond to impacts from the covid pandemic. Parklets are platforms that convert on-street parking spaces into vibrant community spaces and expand seating capacity at adjacent restaurants, businesses, and community-based organizations. Oakland currently has approximately 140 parklets.
Applicants can apply for a permit at the Online Permit Center, by emailing an application to DOTOnlinePermits@oaklandca.gov, or in-person at the Permit Counter, located on the 2nd Floor of 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.
The parklet program guidelines are available online at https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/oakdot-parklet-program.