Vanier BIA reveals design contest finalists for tiny streetside parks

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Tiny funky parks and patios the size of parking spaces could soon be appearing in Ottawa streets – and the Quartier Vanier BIA wants them first.

Five different potential ideas for streetside spots were designed by Carleton architecture students.

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“It’s a public space that contains elements of seating, shading, bike parking, games tables – it’s a reimagined parking space,” said Jamie Kwong, executive director of the BIA.

“Rather than one car being there, multiple people can use that space,” she said.

Residents in Vanier can vote for their preferred parklet design on Thursday at 135 Barrette St. and the BIA will then submit the application to the city. 

City council approved the idea in September after looking at successful models in Seattle, San Francisco and Toronto. 

The city is accepting applications until Feb. 15. If all goes well Ms. Kwong is hoping construction on a Vanier parklet would begin in April.

The five concept designs came from a partnership with Carleton University’s Azrieli architecture school.

The mock-ups show people relaxing and talking on colourful structures that incorporate seating. Ms. Kwong said the public spaces could also host artists and events.

“Each of the designs have their own strength and uniqueness,” said Ms. Kwong. “The community is asked to vote on which one they’d like to see.”

The application process is complex and has many strict requirements. Parklets cannot be placed in a lane that carries moving traffic – they can only be put in dedicated parking lanes.

Parklets also can’t be located too close to existing restaurant patios but require proximity to walking traffic and businesses. They also need to be able to be removed and stored during winter months.

The BIA is dedicating upwards of $20,000 towards the project, which will allow one parklet to be built on Beechwood Avenue in front of Arturo’s Italian restaurant. 

Ms. Kwong said people shouldn’t be surprised something so trendy is coming to Vanier first.

“We’ve been the underdog of the city,” she said. “People subscribe to those easy misconceptions, but tomorrow we’re be blasting that away. We have so many great attributes in Vanier.”

Organizations: BIA, Carleton University, Azrieli architecture school

Geographic location: Vanier, Seattle, San Francisco Toronto Beechwood Avenue

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