Tactical Urbanism takes time: Architecture students build downtown Portland’s first parklet despite regulatory permitting hurdles
Word is out that downtown Portland, Oregon, has its first parklet. Designed by a team of Portland State University architecture students and led by assistant architecture professor B. D. Wortham-Galvin, the 41-foot-long public park covers two parking spaces and opened in June on Southwest 4th Avenue.
Parklets are coming to Cleveland. The urban planning tool remaking urban streetscapes from Los Angeles to Chicago got a nod from Cleveland’s Planning Commission last week, clearing the way for an outdoor living room to replace a parking space in front of the popular Noodlecat restaurant at 234 Euclid Avenue. Read More
On December 3 Seattle opened its first Downtown parklet, at 1516 Second Avenue, a block from Pike Place Market. Designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, built by Krekow Jennings, and funded by Urban Visions, the Chromer Building parklet is named for the distinctive red building—an early home to Amazon—that it fronts.
It seems like just yesterday that Los Angeles opened its first downtown Parklet, a sparkling new design on Spring Street by architects utopiad.org, designers Berry and Linné, and builders Hensel Phelps. But a few weeks ago that design (already getting a little shabby from weather and use) was rammed and badly compromised by an errant motorist, leaving it closed, and leaving downtown without a parklet to speak of more than two years after the city’s parklet program began.
From Los Angeles to Chicago, city governments across the nation have been following San Francisco’s early lead and popping up parklets on their streets, mini sidewalk-side public parks for rest, small group gatherings, and people watching.
This summer, Boston joined in on the trend, installing its first parklet in Mission Hill in September and another in Jamaica Plain at Hyde Square. While these spaces have seen success in other cities, the Boston Globe reported that the Boston parklets have shown disappointing usage during what should have been their prime season.
Earlier this week, AN reported on the opening of Los Angeles’s first parklet in Eagle Rock. Thursday saw the arrival of the city’s second and third sidewalk-extending mini-parks, located on Spring Street in Downtown LA’s historic core. Created by architects/developers utopiad.org, designers Berry and Linné, and builders Hensel Phelps, the 40 foot by 60 foot parklets, located just a few parallel parking spots from each other, are impressively detailed and fitted, with wood planter boxes, minimalist bench seating, stone pavers, hardwood decking, and quirky touches like seat swings, astro turf, bar seats, colorful fences, foosball tables, and exercise bikes.
Our friend Alissa Walker reports in LA Weekly that San Francisco’s Parklet craze (SF now has 23 of the parks built on former parking spaces) has reached the streets of Long Beach. Designed by Studio One Eleven, Southern California’s first parklet is a 30-foot-by-7-foot space with wood decking just outside of the city’s Lola’s Mexican restaurant. Lola’s owner, Luis Navarro, paid for the $20,000 parklet, plus the cost of the chairs and tables. According to the story two more Long Beach parklets will be opening in the next few months—one at a coffee shop and one at a Vietnamese restaurant. Meanwhile LA is on the way to getting its own parklets (hopefully) thanks to the launch of its Parklets Program at the end of last year.