City considering adding parklets

Posted at: 05/06/2013 8:55 PM
Updated at: 05/06/2013 8:56 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

They’re called parklets and they could be coming to downtown Albuquerque if one local group gets their way.
Urban @ ABQ says parklets, or parquitos, as they plan to call them, will get more people to enjoy the outdoors.
A parklet is when a business takes one or two parking spaces and convert them into public spaces or a seating area. It’s an idea that’s catching on in downtown’s across the nation but not everybody in Albuquerque think it’s a good idea.
“Parking is already a problem. They have to walk longer distance to come here,” said Umut Kokangul of Anatolia Doner Kebab Restaurant.
The idea of having spaces converted into parklets isn’t sitting well with him. “We want it to be easy access for them,” said Kokangul.
“If they’re going to take my parking place right away to put a parklet then I’d rather have the parking place,” said Nic Walker of Santa Fe.
Timothy Trujillo with Urban @ ABQ is the man pushing for parklets to come to the downtown area. “We want more spaces for people to hang out and kind of be comfortable outside,” said Timothy Trujillo.
Trujillo said these revamped spots have proven to be successful. Businesses in cities that already have them have seen a boost in income. “So when you have somebody that goes to your coffee shop is attracted by this parklet and they see the shoe shine shop. They see the dry cleaners. It’s actually enhancing business,” added Trujillo.
Urban @ ABQ is in talks with the city. If the city okays it, it would be up to individual businesses to decide whether they want to pay for parklets. In terms of safety, Trujillo said parklets wouldn’t be at intersections and would also have clear boundaries.