A ground-breaking new scheme trialled in Stockport and aimed at transforming underused space into urban mini-parks has been hailed as an overwhelming success.
A recent survey showed 98% of people felt that the region’s first Parklet, installed at Redrock on Bridgefield Street in Stockport town centre, improved the street, while 95% thought more should be installed across Greater Manchester.
The parklet was installed in June and transformed an underused part of the street into an attractive and useful place for shoppers, workers and people on bikes to stop, relax and park up. It has seating, planting, a bespoke mural, a table tennis table and chimes - as well as cycle parking for 12 bikes.
“We’ve had more than 200 public recommendations for potential sites, so we hope other areas will now follow Stockport’s lead and more parklets will pop up in the near future.”
Since it opened, Transport for Greater Manchester has closely monitored the parklet and has undertaken a range of surveys and interviews with users to understand the effect it has had on visitors to the area, local businesses and the area itself.
When asked to describe the parklet, the most common descriptions were “modern”, “clean”, “pleasant” and “safe”, and 98% felt it was an improvement to the street.
The survey also showed that 84% of people who used the parklet reported a feeling of personal wellbeing whilst spending time outdoors on the street and around half of people said the parklet made the street feel safer.
Average time spent on Bridgefield Street increased from seven to 12 minutes after the parklet was introduced, with people who used the parklet spending an average of 15 minutes on the street compared with eight minutes for people who had not used the parklet. The average time people spent in the parklet itself was around 20 minutes.
In addition, 94% of respondents said they would be happy to see some on-street car parking spaces used to install a parklet like this instead.
The survey also interviewed local business owners, who overwhelmingly offered support for the parklet, suggesting it was an improvement to the area and should be made permanent.
Councillor David Meller, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, said: “It’s been brilliant to see the effect that the parklet has had on the Bridgefield Street area, as people have used it as a meeting point for friends, a place to socialise or simply somewhere pleasant to enjoy their lunch break.
“At a time when we’re encouraging people to use their cars less, places like this not only provide the opportunity for travel on foot and by bike but make Stockport town centre a more attractive place for all to enjoy.”
Anyone wanting to suggest a potential location for a parklet can visit the Bee Network map on mappingGM and easily pinpoint it using the new parklets symbol.