By: Stephanie Rosenblatt
After two years of planning and working with the City, Taste Wine-Beer-Kitchen and Olives Gourmet Grocers have a new parklet outside on Broadway. The new area takes up two parking spaces and provides seating for more than 20 patrons. During the day, it will be used by Olives customers. At night, it will be used by Taste.
Laurie Semon and Erin O’Hagan, owners of both establishments, think the parklet will be a game changer for five-year-old Taste. “We think the parklet will help people know it’s a restaurant,” Semon said.
The parklet, which opened on September 27 is already popular with some neighbors. Jaymee and Dustin Wise-Tylek (along with their baby Waylon) were some of the first customers to
enjoy the new outdoor space. “It’s nice,” Dustin said. “I think they did a good job. It has a small footprint.” Jaymee added, “It’s just nice being close to the beach and enjoying the weather.”
Parklets are increasingly popular in Long Beach. They increase pedestrian activity, foster interaction between neighbors, and provide ways for businesses to expand while making the most of Southern California’s climate.
This project was among the first in the city, although that delayed its construction because the City needed a process for ensuring that it would be safe and didn’t encroach on the rights of neighbors. Today, it would be much easier. The City now has a process for approving the location and provides specifications for construction in a new handbook on the City’s website where permit regulations are found.
Businesses can request a permit to build a temporary parklet on streets with a speed limit of 25 mph or less. The parklets can be used for dining, planting, or bicycle parking. One of the approval criteria is whether creating the parklet would decrease the available parking in a two-block radius by more than 10%.
The Taste/Olives parklet was designed by Studio 111 and constructed by JR Van Dijs Inc., Salvage Division. The two companies have designed and constructed most of the parklets in the city.