A small step for solace in just one KC parking spot

06/12/2014 4:34 PM

06/12/2014 4:58 PM

In the scheme of things, removing one curbside parking spot barely registers in a city built mostly for cars. But the quietly provocative “parklet” installed outside the Brick, a busy downtown bar and grill, does make a statement about urban space that’s worth considering.

The wood platform — with benches, sedum trays, solar-powered lighting and portable chairs — in its small way is an invitation to enjoy an expanded pedestrian space. It reclaims some calmness from the fossil-fueled beasts lining our pathways.

This is the second parklet installation by design firms Structura, an Olathe-based maker of outdoor furniture, lighting and other products, and Confluence, landscape architects and planners with a branch in the River Market. The first stood outside YJ’s Snack Bar, the artist-centric Crossroads coffee shop on west 18th Street, just a few blocks away from the Brick. The Kansas City Design Center a few years ago shed light on the global movement to turn urban parking spaces into micro parks.

This latest parklet will be up for a couple of months, poking its well-crafted elbow into complacent city ribs. The project upends the familiar and gets people talking. Take a load off and check it out.

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