The movement to replace curbside parking with curbside seating has arrived in Long Beach, California. The first of three ‘parklet’s’ is now open in front of Lola’s, a Mexican restaurant in the funky Retro Row district. The restaurant, which paid the entire $20k bill to outfit the two parking spaces with cafe space, represents a slow, but growing awareness that urban retail does not live and die by immediate parking adjacency. Indeed, the restaurants owners felt the parklets long-term value for their business would far surpass the value of two curbside parking spaces, which have been replaced nearby.
Parklets are most are the direct offspring of the Park(ing) Day movement and a great example of tactical urbanism. While both tactics were initially developed in San Francisco, Park(ing) Day is now a global movement. Parklets, now sprouting in New York City, Vancouver, Long Beach, and Los Angeles, may also become a global movement, and one we can get behind.