1.10. Enhance spaces with temporary uses and “pop-up” programming.
Temporary uses add an exciting dynamic to public spaces and could enable the County to do more with the spaces it has and in partnership with private owners. This idea has already been included in the Rosslyn Sector Plan. While the County does currently allow temporary uses in public spaces, changes may be needed to the zoning code and other County regulations to expand and streamline this type of activity.
1.10.1. Continue to allow and encourage the activation of public spaces and other publicly and privately owned property through temporary activities like parklets, interim parks, special events, seasonal markets and pop-up events.
Two examples of temporary uses are the Clarendon-Barton Interim Open Space and Park(ing) Day. At Clarendon-Barton Interim Open Space, a temporary park with landscaping, movable seating and a multi-use court transformed what had been an eyesore into a temporary public respite in the densely populated corridor. Park(ing) Day is an annual event where street parking spots are transformed into temporary public parks or “parklets” to spark conversations about how public spaces are used.
1.10.2. Explore streamlining the process of permitting temporary spaces on both public and private lands.
While it is currently possible to create temporary spaces and pop-up events, the County should explore zoning and other requirements to make it simpler and with quicker turn-around to encourage broader participation in the creation of these spaces.
1.10.3. Create a process and guidelines for developing parklets.
Parklets are publicly accessible to all and serve as extensions of the sidewalk by converting curbside parking spaces into vibrant public spaces. Parklets are social platforms for the community, and are often developed through a partnership with the County, local businesses, and neighborhood organizations. Despite their size and atypical location, parklets can contribute to the public space network and overall sidewalk experience by providing places to sit, relax or socialize. Future installations of parklets can increase social activity and enhance the pedestrian experience in the urban corridors throughout the County.
1.10.4. Expand the use of temporary road closures to create public spaces that can be used for the community at large or for special events.
Many cities are embracing temporary road closures to create additional bicycle- and pedestrian- friendly routes on weekends, or to support linear festivals that may include food, drinks, music, and activities. Temporary road closures may also be used by groups that sponsor walks or races. The County sometimes closes roads for special events—such as Clarendon Day, the Columbia Pike Blues Festival, and Marine Corps Marathon—but the practice could be greatly expanded to include more regular closures in the future on non-event days, such as the first Saturday of every month in spring and summer.
1.10.5. Consider locations to present temporary public art exhibitions in public spaces.
Many communities now designate specific locations for exhibiting significant rotating temporary art. Madison Square Park, City Hall Park and Metrotech Commons are examples in New York City. Exhibitions like these, combined with marketing and programming, can make public spaces a must-see destination for residents and visitors and elevate the County’s cultural profile.