La Crosse May Experiment With Creating ‘Parklets’

Small Public Patios Have Been Growing In Popularity Across U.S.

Maureen McCollum/WPR

City of La Crosse Associate Planner Lewis Kuhlman says there’s a lot of room for creativity in the parklets, where people can eat, read, and park their bike. Maureen McCollum/WPR.

The city of La Crosse wants to convert some street parking spaces into small public patios known as “parklets.”

Downtown La Crosse is surrounded by parks, but there’s not a ton of green space among the cramped buildings. To address that, city officials want to test a pilot program that would allow five parking spaces to become parklets.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Businesses and organizations would have to build and maintain the spaces, which can include benches, planters and even performance stages. If the pilot program goes well, the city could create new, more permanent regulations for parklets.

La Crosse Associate Planner Lewis Kuhlman said the experiment could create a more pedestrian-friendly, attractive downtown.

“La Crosse has a great downtown, has a lot of opportunities to bring people together. Keeping that continuous activity and liveliness, I think is important,” he said.

Businesses have until Feb. 20 to apply to the program.

Some people have expressed concerns about the loss of parking spaces.

Parklets can also be found in Milwaukee and other city councils around Wisconsin have been exploring whether or not to allow them.