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Long Beach opens Southern California’s first parklet

January 20, 2012 | 12:07 pm

Long Beach parklet

Long Beach residents, business owners and city officials plan to gather Friday afternoon outside Lola's Mexican Cuisine to celebrate the grand opening of the first parklet in Southern California.

Lola's is in Retro Row, a quarter-mile strip on 4th Street that's lined up with vintage shops, restaurants, wine bars and a renovated theater.

Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, whose district includes Retro Row, is scheduled to be at the grand opening, including representatives from Studio One Eleven, a design studio that helps create the parklets.

At least two other businesses -- Number Nine and the Berlin bistro -- are participating in the parklet program and are expected to construct their parklets soon.

A parklet is the temporary use of curbside parking space for outdoor landscape and seating. A deck is constructed and raised in the parking space at the same elevation as the adjoining sidewalk.

The city's program is modeled slightly after San Francisco's Pavement to Parks program, which has grown in popularity over the last two years. In Long Beach, however, the parklets will only be used by customers of the participating businesses.

In L.A., plans are underway to install parklets at three businesses on Spring Street, according to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. The board, however, is still trying to raise $40,000 for two of the projects.

The cost of a parklet can reach up to more than $20,000, when taking construction material and various city fees into account. Business owners say it's a one-time payment that will pay for itself.

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: The Southland's first parklet opens in Long Beach. Credit: Lola's Mexican Cuisine