Turning Streets into Destinations Expands Restaurant Business and Public Open Space

Architype presentsJulie Dillon
Julie Dillon is the Communications Director at Bison Innovative Products and developed their how-to planning and installation videos among other accomplishments. ...
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Next time you park on the street, imagine instead a park-like atmosphere in its place and what that would mean to the adjacent retail establishments and neighborhood. The overall look, feel and appeal of the area would be changed and transformed into something beautiful and purposeful.  This emerging and exciting trend – the Bison Pop-Up-Park – is quickly catching on; urbanites, business owners and municipalities are seeing immense value in utilizing public parking for landscaped community gathering space.

The Pop-up Park creates a level deck from the curb, out over parking spaces. Planters overflowing with greenery, connected by railings, creatively provide the park’s border. Café tables, bike racks and solar powered accent lights create an alluring and pleasant atmosphere for the community to enjoy.  The Bison Pop-Up Park system includes everything needed to build decks on streets.  Bison Wood Tiles installed over the Versadjust Adjustable Deck Supports allows for the construction of a level and smooth decking surface over the uneven and sloping street. Bison Custom Cubes™ integrate with the decking system to create a landscaped border around the deck. The entire system is designed to dismantle easily for seasonal storage if needed.

Retail establishments are investing in Pop-Up-Parks adjacent to their place of business to attract customers while allowing any passerby to sit and enjoy the landscaped space. New York City installed their first Pop-up Park located in the Financial District at Pearl and Broad in August, 2011. “The city’s first pop-up café is a great, cost-effective way to help businesses while providing much-needed seating along our crowded sidewalks,” said Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Innovative interventions like this help make our streets into destinations and improve the quality of life for the thousands of people who live, work and play in Lower Manhattan.”(1)

According to the business owners, Pop-up Parks increase sales. The Pop-Up Café in New York City is open to the general public however, was financed by the adjacent establishments: Fika coffee shop and Bombay’s restaurant. According to the New York Department of Transportation, “The establishments have already reported huge increases in business in the first week since the space has been unofficially open.”(1)

On the West coast in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom is spearheading a program called Pavement to Parks.  A “parklet” using the Bison Pop-Up Park System was built over what were once two public parking spaces outside the popular Mojo Bicycle Café. Located on Divisadero Street, the parklet has led the owners of Mojo to report a near “30% increase in business.”(2) The San Francisco Parklet was initially installed on a trial basis and has since been in place for two years. “There was considerable debate about how to build a durable and attractive platform that wouldn’t interfere with drainage and sanitation. The Department of Public Works (DPW), Planning, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) landed on a solution they believe will be sturdy and safe,” said the San Francisco Planning Department’s Andres Power, project manager for Pavement to Parks. “The idea is essentially to build a cheaper bulbout, to get the same effect as a $100,000 [concrete] bulbout at a fraction of the funds.”(3)

Awarded the prestigious Architectural Record Product Pick (4) in 2010, Bison Pop-up Parks support local businesses, enhance neighborhoods and create attractive community gathering areas. Because of this, retail establishments and city governments are partnering to make these mini-parks a reality. Find out more about Bison Innovative Products and the Bison Pop-Up Park all inclusive system at www.BisonIP.com.



(1) NYC DOT Press Release: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot//html/pr2010/pr10_036.shtml

(2) http://sf.streetsblog.org/2010/02/16/san-francisco-takes-parking-spaces-for-trial-sidewalk-extensions/

(3) http://sfpavementtoparks.sfplanning.org/index.htm

(4) 2010 Architectural Record Product Pick: Special Construction & Exterior Improvements Category: http://archrecord.construction.com/products/productreports/2010.asp

Image credits: Bison Innovative Products

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