Are "parklets" the next big thing in dining?

A parklet is a small dining area or park that fits inside an underutilized parking space. It has a raised platform, about the height of a curb, and is filled with design elements like planters, trees, benches, fountains, sculptures or even bicycle parking.

So far, they've popped up in San Francisco and New York, and now in Frederick, Md.

The city approved the pilot program in July for two restaurants -- Brewer’s Alley Restaurant and Brewery and Moxie Cafe and Bakery. Depending on the success of the spaces, parklets might be popping up elsewhere in Frederick.

The first parklets showed up in 2005 in San Francisco, when collective art studio Rebar rolled out sod and a potted tree at Mission Street parking space.

Last year, Reba designer John Bela told the San Francisco Chronicle that the parkets have had "a really interesting evolution" from "guerrilla activism to part of the city's planning strategy."

Since San Francisco rolled out a full-fledged parklet program in 2009, 33 have been installed with 15 in the design stage. But the trend has incited a backlash among some drivers, and several sounded off to local station KTVU earlier this month:

"In a really busy city, in an urban environment like this I think maybe that if there are too many (parklets) that would cause problems for people trying to find parking," said Katie Reuter of Walnut Creek.

Several other cities currently have parklets in the works, including Cincinnati and Chicago.

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