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Could Arup's 'Parklets' solve UK's electric charging conundrum?

recharge sketches v2 page 2 edit

Arup has revealed its creative multi-function solution to solve the UK’s electric charging point conundrum.  

Arup’s ’ReCharge Parklets’ combine the greenery and seating of a parklet with electric vehicle charge points, moving the charge points off the pavement and creating a community space in the same move. 

Parklets by themselves are not a new idea, first popping up in New York in the 90s as temporary green spaces in car parking spaces. However, ReCharge Parklets are a new take on the idea of the pop-up garden on a more permenant basis.  

Arup transport consulting associate director Susan Claris said she came up with the novel idea of combining green space with green transport after seeing electric charge points taking up room on pavements.  

Recently, electric charging points have been making the headlines with several installations proving unpopular with residents and activists, who say that the installation of the charge points can make smaller pavements inaccessible for disabled people.

Claris’s idea is to take the charging points off the pavement and into the road by remodelling on-street car parking spaces. 

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recharge parklets could benefit everyone, their creator Susan Claris from Arup says. 

But the idea is to benefit the whole community, not just electric vehicles, says Claris. 

“My idea was to make parklets a place where the electric vehicle charging points could go, but also making use of the power supply there to create facilities for other road users such as bike charging, mobile phone recharging, Wi-Fi hotspots etc,” Claris told New Civil Engineer.  

The ReCharge Parklets are designed to be modular so the various components can be installed one at a time to minimise disruption caused by the works.  

This also means the installations can be expanded and customised to fit purpose, with Claris envisioning that the parklets could hold facilities such as cycle-hire schemes and Amazon lockers.  

Claris claims that the Parklets carry a lot of additional community benefits as well as those to road users as “a place to rest for older people or parents with young children, or a place for community members to gather. It could also improve safety providing a narrow point to cross the road with good visibility”. 

Claris added that there has already been a lot of interest in the project, especially from Transport for Greater Manchester “who want to install hundreds of them” but also from Transport for London and cities in Scotland.  

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