Editor’s Note: Where you live is an important element of health. Also important is what that place looks like. Urban Design is not just about buildings. It is also about how people interact with their environment; from Parks to sidewalks. One of our journalists recently posted an article on www.562CityLife.com about an experiment in sidewalk redesign along the Fourth Street Corridor in mid-city Long Beach.
Long Beach is constantly evolving, from the first bike-friendly business district in the country to the Downtown plan.
Well our fair city is not slowing down during the opening weeks of the new-year. As of Jan. 20, Lolas Restaurant is home to the first parklet in southern California. The parklet is located right in front of the restaurant, but I can bet it didn’t get much use this weekend.
The grand opening of the parklet was a whole community event which came together with colaberative efforts of Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, Luis Navarro (Owner of Lola’s), Studio One Eleven, JR van Dijs, Inc., Retro Row Businesses, and many more.
Parklets popped up in San Francisco in 2005 as a form of activism but soon became more about using parking spaces that were under utilized in the urban landscape.
The parklet in front of Lola’s is one of three restaurants which got approved for constructing parklets curbside. Not only are they appealing to passers-by, but they add about 20 new seats to the existing business without the cost of remodeling.
“What is that about?” asked James K., 26, local resident. After taking a closer look, he quickly commented, “Whoa, I love Lola’s as it is. Now I can eat my ‘chiles rellenos’ while I have a smoke!” Not sure if that would fly, but his enthusiasm was shared by the crowd that gathered for the event.
Have you seen the parklet outside of Lola’s? What do you think some of the drawbacks might be? Do you remember these from last years’ Park(ing) Day?