SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 16, 2014

A day in the parklet

Temporary street park puts focus on biking, walking

BEVERLY — There was singing in the streets of downtown Beverly yesterday. Or at least in two parking spaces on Cabot Street.

Those two metered spaces were converted for a day into a tiny park, called a parklet, as a way to call attention to ways that communities can lessen their reliance on cars.

The fenced-in parklet consisted of two green artificial turf rugs laid down on the street, a couple of Adirondack chairs, hanging plants, free snacks, and daylong activities and entertainment, including performances by The Northshoremen Barbershop Quartet.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Brandon Cyr, a 23-year-old Beverly resident who stopped to check it out. “More stuff like this will bring people out.”

The parklet was the idea of the North Shore Transportation Management Association, a nonprofit group based in Salem that has been around since 2009. The organization created its first temporary parklet on Monday in North Andover as part of its Bike to Work Week, and Beverly’s was the second.

Parklets have been cropping up in cities around the country, both permanent and temporary, in an effort to “call attention to the need for more urban space” for people who aren’t driving vehicles, according to the website PARK(ing) DAY.

“The idea is, what would you do if you didn’t need so much parking?” Andrea Leary, North Shore TMA’s executive director, said as the barbershop quartet sang in the background. “You could have this green space on a more permanent basis, and you could do all of these things.”

Bob Huntley of The Northshoremen Barbershop Quartet said he liked the idea of the parklet, and not only because it gave him and his group a chance to sing outdoors on a sunny day amid the falling white petals of the pear blossom trees.

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