Two views of the new parklets at Oakland’s Sobre Mesa. Photos by Kristen Loken

The need for pedestrian-friendly gathering spots predates the pandemic, but efforts to rescue our restaurants make the need for parklets hyper-apparent. You can pitch in with your time and/or dollars to help create more parklets for small businesses in Oakland as outdoor space for dining and other purposes will help keep these businesses going during the pandemic and beyond.

“Prior to Covid, Oakland had a parklet program, so we’re hoping to keep them around under that initiative,” says Ari Takata-Vasquez, executive director of Oakland Indie Alliance, whose organization is coordinating pro bono work by architects, designers, and builders to create more parklets using donated materials, all at no cost to the businesses.

“We’ve been building parklets to the city’s specs so the businesses have parklets that meet building standards and can last long term,” Takata-Vasquez adds. “The flex street parklet permits have been extended from 12/30/20 to 6/30/2021 by the department of transportation, so we know for sure they’ll be around until summer, but longer-term we’re still waiting for guidance from the city. They’re great assets for small businesses and provide street activations for our neighborhoods.”

To learn more about how to help the Oakland Indie Alliance build more parklets, read up here.