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Raleigh's first parklet nears completion

Posted January 27, 2015

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— Several parking spaces along Salisbury Street in downtown Raleigh represent a first for the City of Oaks.

The spaces are home to Raleigh’s first parklet – a miniature park designed to make the most of small public areas.

“The idea is to create a little urban oasis, to create a little bit of extra public space for folks to enjoy when they are downtown,” said Pam Blondin, owner of Deco Raleigh and sponsor of the parklet.

Parklets are nothing new in bigger cities such as San Francisco. Raleigh City Council approved the idea in 2013, allowing sponsors to pay to convert parking spaces into miniature parks.

“Let's celebrate creativity,” Blondin said. “Let's celebrate downtown Raleigh, create a gathering place for folks.”

Blondin worked with the North Carolina State University College of Design and raised more than $17,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to build the park, which is in front of her business. About $5,000 from the money raised on Kickstarter will be used to pay the city for the parking spots.

Construction started last year and isn’t quite finished yet. Blondin said the park should be open to the public by spring.

“We're even fantasizing about having solar power out here so someone could plug in their laptop or charge their phone,” Blondin said.

City officials say they are pleased with the way the first parklet is coming together, and organizers hope it's the start of something big downtown.

“The city is willing to experiment,” park designer Bob Massengale said. “It's looking at public land, which the street is in the public domain, in kind of a new way.”


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  • raleighdurham Jan 28, 2015

    eh, give me the parking spots instead. when i go downtown, i'm never looking for a place to sit or a 'parklet' to visit. i'm looking for a parking spot.

  • Brad Thompson Jan 28, 2015
    user avatar

    Most of the complaints about downtown and the activities, cultural or otherwise, seem to come from people that don't go downtown or participate in said activities. These comments just demonstrate ignorance in its purest form and are disappointing.

  • jenjengirl89 Jan 28, 2015

    Having lived within 3 miles of downtown Raleigh for the last 42 years, and 17 years of employment there, I can say definitively:

    Any place a park bench exists, someone will be making their home.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jan 28, 2015

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    -= the Wake County Deck on Davie street is the ONLY deck that isn't free- EVER. It's NEVER free- they charge 24/7. The city decks on Wilmington and by Morgan street are free in the evenings and weekends- except for special events.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jan 28, 2015

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    - If you ever saw the R-Line, it's usually fairly empty, well lit and would think MUCH safer than actually walking in the cold or down dark streets alone.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jan 28, 2015

    View quoted thread

    - actually, there IS an abundance of parking downtown, so this works out fine. Raleigh spent a LOT of money to build a bunch of parking decks- more than we needed at the time or even at the moment, predicting that the city would grow and fill those decks- the city is doing just that. On a day to day basis, there is PLENTY of parking downtown- maybe not on the street right in front of where you want to be, but there is parking available at almost all times. That being said- I don't know what to think of these things- SEEMS like a good idea, but will hold off judgement until it's done and see how people react to them.

  • proudgrandmomma Jan 28, 2015

    my niece was reading this and i said to her "there goes to waste of perfectly good parking spaces" and she said to me that she doesn't even park near there she just rides the "R" line. I said what in the world is that. She said its a BUS. She said I could get on for free and ride around downtown. I said,," sweetie, you think Im getting on A BUS?? In DOwnTOWN?? Homey don't play that!!!"

  • Terry Watts Jan 28, 2015
    user avatar

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    Hey, isn't that a parking garage in the background of the picture???

  • heelzfan4 Jan 28, 2015

    So let's see what we have accomplished with this..... lessened a few parking spots (not bad, if there was an abundance of parking LOL), created more work for Public Work employees (cleaning up these areas, emptying trash, etc). Great move .

  • Doug Hanthorn Jan 28, 2015
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    Good observation. Let's bulldoze all the parks in downtown Raleigh, big and small, since the same objections apply to them. Instead, let's build fracking wells on each of these sites. Gosh, we have some really bright ones posting here.....