LA CROSSE, WI -

The city of La Crosse is considering a plan to convert some downtown parking spaces into a place for people.

The Board of Public Works approved a pilot program Monday to install parklets, which are sidewalk extensions.

Businesses downtown can rent the parking spot in front of their shop for $100 a year and convert it into extra seating space or a small pedestrian plaza.

The program is mirrored after one that is already happening in San Francisco as a way to encourage pedestrian traffic. "There are a lot of businesses downtown that use the sidewalk as extra seating space for a patio, but there's not a lot of room to walk through that area so this would kind of allow more free space for people to gather," said Associate La Crosse City Planner Lewis Kuhlman.

The pilot program is starting with just five spaces, not only downtown, but on the north side as well.

The plan still needs approval from the Parking Utility Board.