ALAMEDA -- Dozens of Alamedans enjoyed spending time in a temporary urban garden that went up in a couple parking spaces right in front of Tucker's Ice Cream for a day.
The special Park Street parklet was put together by several residents to celebrate PARK(ing) Day, when public spaces are recreated by communities worldwide. It included four planters filled with flowers and other vegetation, a few bales of hay, one chicken, a bench to sit on and even a bee honeycomb.
"This has been a joy," said Donna Eyestone, an organizer and board member of BikeAlameda. "It's not every day that you get to chat about public space with people on the street. This parklet is a great way to visualize the many different uses for public space."
"I wish this was here all the time," said Kate Pryor, owner of Tucker's Ice Cream. "It's like the saying, 'Build it, and they will come.' It just makes so much sense to take space that's normally car oriented and turn it into a really pleasant pedestrian environment."
According to designer David Burton, an architect and Alameda resident, plans for the parklet came together about a month ago through discussions between Eyestone and John Knox White, another member of BikeAlameda.
"They got the idea to me, and I made a three-dimensional image of it, which looks pretty much like what we put together on Park Street," Burton said. "I loved having the chance to design something so fun and immediate."
The city of Alameda gave permits to the group for the event, and several local merchants -- such as Plowshares Nursery and Urban Island Home Furnishings -- donated supplies to turn the plan into reality.
"It's really nice. I wish they'd have something permanent here," said Kristen Hanlon, an Alameda resident who visited the parklet with her two children while visiting Tucker's.
"I love it because I'm a walker and enjoy having the opportunity to stop and rest," said Audrey Lord-Hausman of Alameda. "It's a chance to meet friends and chat."
"And it's getting sidewalks and other areas to be more pedestrian friendly, while getting [a few] cars off a main street," said her husband, Richard Hausman.
Organizers say they are very pleased with the community's reaction and hope to put up a similar parklet next year on PARK(ing) Day.
"The reception has been fantastic," Knox White said. "And many people are asking, 'What do you mean it's going away?'"