ABQ coffee shop wants parking space for public park

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – They’ve been tried all over the nation with a lot of success and now one group is hoping downtown Albuquerque will be the next city to latch on to an experiment called “parquitos.”

Also called “parklets,” a parquito could be considered a cross between a patio and park. The project would transform a single public parking space into an inviting “urban oasis” where cars are out and people can relax street side.

“I just think downtown would benefit greatly, there’s a bunch of great places to sit outside, but not a lot of outdoor seating,” said Pilar Westell, owner of the Zendo coffee shop.

Zendo and a group of local downtown activists called Urban ABQ are now trying to raise money for their proposed parquito.

The plan would take a parking space in front of Zendo on 2nd Street between Lead and Coal Avenues and transform it into a temporary open space for people to sit and relax.

Organizers say the parquito would be made out of wood, metal and other recycled materials, but would only stick around for 60 days. To address safety concerns, blueprints show the project would be framed in with large wooden planters.

If it happens, the parquito would be the City of Albuquerque’s first.

“After the 60-day pilot project, the hope is that regulatory matters can be tweaked to allow businesses across the City to develop these little urban jewels intended to help activate areas with people,” said Tim Trujillo, one of the project’s organizers.

Some city officials are hopeful that the idea will help spruce up downtown’s lack of green space while attracting more visitors to neighboring businesses.

“It’s something that’s been happening all over the country. It’s been met with success and it may be time for Albuquerque to give it a try,” said Russell Brito, the urban design division manager for the city of Albuquerque’s planning department.

The group is now raising money to build the parquito. So far, they’ve raised around $1,500.

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