In West Philly, parklets, the transportable temporary street parks in former parking spots, are spreading out along Baltimore Avenue. And these quaint sit-down areas are doing worthwhile things for the businesses they front.
The Cedar Parklet (love the name) is the most recent installation of these small spaces outside Little Baby’s Ice Cream, which opened this summer at 49th & Catharine. The parklet provides some color at the corner where the New World Lounge looms over Cedar Park like the last reminder of what the neighborhood used to be before it was transformed through locals’ efforts over the past decade. Cedar Parklet marks the fourth West Philly parklet to arrive on the scene. The first and original parklet appeared outside the Green Life Cafe at 43rd & Baltimore in August 2011. The spot is removed in the winter and returned each spring. The second came last summer near 44th & Spruce in front of Honest Tom’s Taco Shop, the Lil Pop Shop and next to Local 44. The third West Philly parklet went in at 4040 Locust across from the new Ramen Bar last fall. The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities first launched the parklet in program in 2011. Since then, parklets have surfaced at other city locations including South Street West.
Kudos to the University City District (UCD), the civic group that’s overseen the fabrication of parklets in West Philly. The folks at UCD have generated good idea after good idea, like this landscaped wall at The Porch to make a construction site more pleasing to look at. Thanks to these parklets, one has a chance for civic respite every few blocks along Baltimore.