A Concept Comes To Life: People Spots

A fun concept has popped up in Chicago this summer: people spots!  These public areas, also called parklets, are created simply by reclaiming two to three on-street parking spots and setting up tables and chairs to encourage community.

I happened upon this people spot featured below while biking down Lincoln Avenue, conveniently located in front of Heritage bike shop and cafe.  This people spot will be a permanent feature, except during winter for snow plowing purposes, and you can read more about this parklet here.

What a lovely addition to my neighborhood!  I’m so happy that the Alderman and the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce are embracing the vision of a people-centered community.  Surely more of these people spots would help local businesses and property values, in addition to bringing residents together.  Cities need more of this forward-thinking and action.

Have you seen people spots popping up where you live?  Isn’t this such a fun idea?!


  • steve_a_dfw

    Seems like a much better use of public funds than subsidizing private car storage (often called on-street car parking).

  • John

    No alcohol?

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      I know, right?? That’s the only downside. ;)

      • http://twitter.com/SimplyBike Simply Bike

        Ok, yeah, agreed! :)

    • Sonja

      yeah. only in america :)

  • http://yaybeth.blogspot.com/ Beth

    We have one of these in Andersonville and I must say that yours is MUCH nicer. Ours just looks like some kind of 3-sided concrete barrier, and for ages I thought they must be doing some kind of work on the street there. Then a friend told me it was a people spot, so I walked by from a different angle and noticed the tables and chairs in there. I still haven’t seen a single person stopping to sit and enjoy the space though – probably because it feels like a bunker.

    The one you found is lovely, though. Hope others around the city are more like yours and less like ours!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Since this is a totally new concept for Chicago, it sounds like the city needs to do better at publicizing the purpose of the spots – and sprucing up Andersonville’s! Every time I go by the one on Lincoln, there are people sitting there, but they are probably customers of Heritage. And most people walking by probably assume that the space is simply the cafe’s sidewalk seating. The sign explaining the concept is small and sorta tucked away.

  • http://twitter.com/Mariannika Marianne Gries

    That’s great! My city is hosting a similar pop-up park during our annual Sustainability Week at the end of this month. I’m hoping that it will be popular enough to become permanent!

  • http://twitter.com/SimplyBike Simply Bike

    I LOVE this idea, good for Chicago!


  • http://www.everybikeastory.com/ Velotales

    These are popping up in Vancouver where I live as well. Love them! Though none of ours have such a cool wood, wavy, couch-bench as pictured above. I think I’d be ordering drink after drink and lounging the whole day on that slice of heaven!

  • http://iwanttoridemy.blogspot.com.au/ Fat-bottomed Girl

    Instant alfresco! I love it!

  • Les Connally

    We are struggling with this in Dallas.. Google “Better Block Project” But damn, drovers HATE losing parking places!! You would think we were eating their children!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Same here in Nashville, alas!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Same here in Nashville, alas!

  • Stephen Hodges

    Sounds like something out of “City Comforts” by David Sucher. Mr. Sucher describes the principles of such improvements, and provides examples of small things that can be found in cities around the world that create character and social spaces.

    My only concern with these spots would be safety. That’s a very cool and obviously well-designed set of street furniture, but I’m not sure I’d be that relaxed with multi-ton vehicles whizzing close by…:-

    • http://www.bikewalklincolnpark.com Michelle Stenzel

      I’ve enjoyed sitting at the People Spot on Lincoln Avenue, and it’s actually quite peaceful. Lincoln Ave here is a two-lane, two-way street, with a bike lane on it. The speed limit is 25 mph, and some drivers might go up to 30ish, but most of the time, they stay at a fairly low level. Plus, there’s a signalized intersection only about 20 yards to the north of the People Spot, which helps keep speeds and noise levels down. I found it much more pleasant than sitting right next to/behind a row of parked SUVs, which is the usual view in Chicago when sitting in sidewalk cafes!

  • Sarah W.

    I love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=36906757 Fred Smith

    Nice – we need some in London :-)

  • http://twitter.com/SimplyBike Simply Bike

    We now have one in Ames, Iowa! I was so excited to see it on my walk to campus today! I knew of the concept from your blog post actually and so as I was walking closer to it, I kept hoping that that was what I was seeing. A very nice addition to our campus town area, so happy to see a concept such as this come to our small college town.

  • Pingback: a parklet in campus town! » Simply Bike

  • steve_a_dfw

    Seems like a much better use of public funds than subsidizing private car storage (often called on-street car parking).