Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled this list of FAQs over the past three years through multiple 1:1 conversations about the Parklets Pilot as well as many presentations to community groups, district meetings and city commissions.

If you have any additional questions that aren’t answered below, please e-mail Info@PlayhouseParklets.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!


Where will the Parklets be located?

A:

The project is focused on the five blocks of Colorado Boulevard between Hudson and Los Robles avenues. 

Within that area, we’re considering a variety of factors in determining Parklet locations including:

  • Natural gathering places suggested by the public
  • Practical “public works” needs such as drainage, and access to utility infrastructure that must be accommodated
  • Traffic flow and safety – including sight lines, transition distances, disabled parking, etc.
  • Sponsorship interest in helping to construct, maintain and activate the space

Will the Parklets be maintained and cleaned?

A:

Yes!

A comprehensive maintenance program will combine existing and increased Ambassador Guide and cleaning support from the Playhouse District Association, along with sponsorship and donations to ensure safe, clean and enjoyable parklets. The Draft Budget for the Playhouse Parklets Pilot also includes on-going replacement of furniture and plants as needed.

The Playhouse District Association (PDA), a non-profit corporation formed in 1995, is dedicated to managing and marketing Pasadena’s Playhouse District. The PDA is funded by a property-based business improvement district (PBID). The PBID pools private dollars to fund activities and services in the 32-block Playhouse District which is governed by an 11-member board of directors representing the district’s property owners, businesses, institutions, and residents.

Will the Parklets affect the Tournament of Roses Parade?

A:

No.

Our team has coordinated with the Tournament of Roses since the very beginning of the project and we are committed to ensuring that the parklets initiative has no impact whatsoever on this treasured annual event in Pasadena!

To accommodate the Parade, our parklets will be disassembled in advance of the Parade and reassembled in early January.

Are the Parklets safe?

A:

Our parklets will be designed to meet the appropriate “crash safety” requirements and other important design elements to protect anyone enjoying the parklets.  As part of the standard permitting process, there will be a formal plan check as well as annual inspections and maintenance monitoring.

Will the road diet create a traffic nightmare on Colorado?

A:

No.

As you probably know, Colorado Boulevard was originally engineered as a highway (the former Route 66) but now – with the 210 freeway now running less than ½ mile to the north – Colorado in the Playhouse District has become an attractive arts-oriented retail area.  As the Editorial Board of the Pasadena Star-News characterizes the Boulevard, it's now "...the shopping and dining and strolling heart of the city."

In too much of a hurry for all that?  You'll be able to slide over one block to Union and Green, two one-way streets that are specifically designed to move cars from one end of town to another.  However, if you’d prefer to stay on the Boulevard and enjoy the sights, the Pasadena Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that rush hour travelers will only experience a 30-second delay getting across town. 

Will the Parklets affect bus stops?

A:

No.

There will be no change in the current configuration of bus stops.

Won’t the Parklets take much-needed parking spaces?

A:

No.

In most situations, the answer would be “Yes” – as a Parklet usually occupies a parallel parking space.  However, in the Playhouse District, our situation is very different.  Along with the traffic calming strategy of reducing Colorado from five lanes to three in District, we are also proposing a change from parallel parking to back-in angled parking. 

With the shift in space design, we’ll actually gain 4-5 parking spaces per block resulting in a total increase estimated at around 20-25 spaces!

Do these back-in angled parking spaces work?

A:

Yes!

The City of Pasadena has proposed Back-In Angled Parking (BIAP) for this 5 block stretch of Colorado Boulevard to promote safety as well as fluid automobile traffic movement on the street.

While you may have not yet seen it personally, BIAP is actually much simpler to execute than parallel parking and (compared to traditional head-in angled parking) it’s much easier to exit the space by “nosing out” into the traffic flow rather than backing out blindly.

Pasadena first implemented BIAP in 2014 with a block on Vista Street between Sierra Madre and Rosemead Blvd. If you have a chance to check it out, you'll see that the change was supported only by the simple signage shown above and people have easily adopted the approach.

Building on that success, the design has also been put into operation on a block face within the Civic Center (on Garfield, south of Walnut in front of the Police Department).

Back-In Angled Parking is now considered to be the current “Best Practice” across the United States and it’s been successfully implemented in cities such as Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Seattle and Ventura as well as in states including Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Ohio, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and more!

How much money does this cost – and who is going to pay?

A:

There are three parties working hard to make this vision a reality, and each is making a distinct contribution.

The project originated within the Playhouse District Association (PDA) and the PDA has committed to provide funds for:

  • Sample Designs 
  • Community Outreach

The City of Pasadena has lent extensive professional staff expertise to ensure that traffic impacts are minimal, and that the new design will be safe.  The proposed changes to Colorado Boulevard would be paid for by a Playhouse District Parking Revenue Fund administered by the City.

And lastly, a variety of Community Sponsors have donated their time and energy to bring this initiative to the current point.  Going forward, we’ll also be looking to businesses and individual Community Sponsors to provide financial support for:

  • Investment to fabricate and install Parklets
  • On-going “activation” through arts and cultural events

Has the City Council approved the Parklets Pilot?

A:

No, we have not yet received formal City Council approval.  However, the project has gone before Council twice for discussion (on both March 24, 2014 as well as January 25, 2016).  

Most recently, Council approved a plan for:

  • Completion of City Staff's background work (including re-striping plan, traffic analysis and draft license agreements) 
  • Review by the Transportation Advisory Commission - anticipated in March, 2016
  • Review by the Design Commission - anticipated in April, 2016

Then Commission input will likely be followed by a full presentation to City Council (anticipated in May, 2016) that will include:

  • Finalized Budget
  • Proposed Street Modifications
  • Permit-ready plans for the Parklets
  • License Agreements
  • Letters of Support from prospective sponsors, local businesses and residents

What’s the anticipated timeline for this project?

A:

We continue to enjoy widespread support from the Playhouse District Association and community stakeholders.  To date, we've also received generous sponsorship commitments from Laemmle Theatres, Blaze Pizza, Community Bank, Pasadena Foothill Area Realtors, dusitD2 Constance Hotel, and El Portal Restaurant, among others.  

We're anticipating going before both the Design Commission as well as the Arts and Culture Commission in Q4 of 2016 - with a completed package of input ready for City Council’s review in the first quarter of 2017.  Pending Council approval at that time, our plan calls for installations in mid-2017. 

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