Monday, December 2, 2019

Two benches, two trees, and a mural

On the north side of downtown, a new public art installation along Alameda Street has two benches with a not-too-small shade tree in front of each. The parklet is on the north side of the street behind a wall and a tall building, which means that the summer sun (which comes from the north mid-day) will probably be blocked a lot of the day.

Location: Alameda at the corner of Scott

Hours: 24 hours. There's street lighting and a light on the wall behind the parklet.

Parking: Street parking

Monday, October 7, 2019

Colossal chairs

There's a very shady spot near the northwest corner of the University of Arizona Campus. It's a tree-covered parklet in front of the Moroney Theatre, between the U of A Museum of Art, Fred Fox School of Music, and the Center for Creative Photography. You'll find benches and very tall chairs (like this one) to sit on, as well as sculpture.

Standing Woman with Hands on Her Face by Francisco Zuñiga

Musical instrument case

Chair in front of theatre

Things used in a theatre production — along roof in front of theatre

Hamlet by William Arms

Curved benches

Location: Southeast of the corner of Park and Speedway. From north side of Speedway, walk through the Olive Underpass; the parklet is on your right near the south side.

Parking: The Park Avenue garage is at the north end of the Olive Underpass. All parking in the area is controlled by the University.

Hours: Probably 24 hours, though UA Police may be suspicious if you're there at 3 am…

Monday, July 1, 2019

Benches, some shade, and a streetlight

This parklet is about as basic as they come: three benches surrounded by five fairly young palo verde trees with a lone streetlight overhead. I read that it was created after buildings were torn down for the Broadway Blvd. widening that's starting just south of here. The small parking lot just north of the parklet serves the small business on the other side of the lot, but I can't imagine that the owner would mind a car or two.

The most appealing time to come is probably first thing in the morning or toward evening — when there's not much noise from Broadway and the streetlight can give a little security. (It doesn't feel like a dangerous spot to me, and you're a little bit off of Broadway.)

Location: Northwest of the corner of Broadway & Tucson, just east of where Smith and Norton Avenues split

Hours: Probably anytime; the streetlight could make it nice on a warm summer evening

Parking: The small lot just north, or limited street parking

Monday, June 3, 2019

Park yourself on Park

Down at the end of Park Avenue, south of the Lost Barrio and a couple of blocks before Park dead-ends at Aviation Bikeway/Highway, is this little spot with tables and landscaping with cisterns. A couple of bike racks make this an easy way to stop off from a ride on Aviation Bikeway. A bit farther north on Park is one very shaded picnic-type table but I think it may be for employees of the business behind the tables. (In fact, if you're here during business hours, you might ask.) There's one streetlight at the southeast street corner, and a little more light overhead.

Hours: Daylight hours, with some overhead light at night

Parking: Street parking, small bike racks

Location: Take Park Avenue south from Broadway or ride a couple of blocks north of the traffic circle along Aviation Bikeway

Monday, May 6, 2019

Prospective Pocket Park near Grant & Country Club

Back on February 18th, I saw the KGUN 9 TV story Midtown neighborhood association aims to keep vagrants out of nearby parklet. The neighborhood was planning a pocket park; the video showed what looked like an empty lot with some bushes and trees. If the neighborhood was strong enough to call for help and be on TV news, I thought the spot might be developed soon. So I waited a few months to see what happened.

I stopped by yesterday. The bushes were flowering, but not much else seemed to have changed. The video showed an interview with the neighborhood association president and mentioned that the parklet is owned by the Tucson Department of Transportation.

For now, you'll want to bring your own chairs, etc. The trees don't provide much shade.

Location: Take Edison east from Country Club or Rita south from Grant.

Hours: 7 am to 7 pm (the neighborhood seems to be serious about this…)

Parking: Street parking

Monday, February 4, 2019

Parklet patios and art-filled walls at TMC

Where can you find 10 or 20 parklets within a couple hundred feet of each other? That would be the main hospital building at Tucson Medical Center. Most of the patient rooms surround landscaped interior patios, and all of those patios are accessible from the main hospital hallways.

Some patios have a theme. For instance, the Hummingbird Patio is designed to attract hummingbirds; there's information along the wall inside. As time goes on, more patios are being landscaped in special ways — thanks to TMC Foundation donors.

If it's a hot day, TMC is a place to come for the great art that's being added along the hallways — again, thanks to donors. A curator chooses the art, and it's high-quality.

Want to stretch your legs? Pick up a map at one of the information desks, or use their website and app from to navigate the endless air-conditioned hallways. There are several cafes, and the main cafeteria has a salad bar that's been fresh and tasty every time I've tried it. (I asked the curator of the art program; she says that there's currently no map showing where the art is. I think they're adding it so quickly that it's hard to keep a map up to date!) Here's a section of the map showing a number of named patios:

I took the photos on May 25, 2018. The website screen shot was made January 29, 2019.

LOCATION: The main hospital building, north of Grant between Beverly and Craycroft. The entrance at the southwest corner is almost directly across the street from the parking garage, but it's closed at night.

HOURS: 24 hours (though Security may ask questions if they spot you wandering the halls late at night). A fair number of patios are unlit, and remember that there are patients trying to rest in the rooms surrounding some patios.

PARKING: During days and early evenings, you'll probably have the best luck at one of the parking garages. The small surface lot near the southwest entrance is best left for Emergency Room patients.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Eastside City Hall Outdoor Enhancement

Not far from the previous parket, this “outdoor enhancement” to people in Tucson city government (as it's named on a plaque) is a “parklet” to me. David Aber, who found the place and sent photos on August 9, 2018, mentioned that the building also serves as the home to City Council Ward 2.

Let’s start with an overview showing the three wooden benches, ashtray and a mosaic stream on the east side of the main entrance. A tree (just off the left edge of the photo, behind the closer bench) gives some shade:

The mosaic “pond” underneath the (metal?) “pussywillow” has desert flora plus a Gila Monster and turtle:

There are other clever places for art in this little spot. One is a utility payment drop box with a sheet metal cut-out of a saguaro. Another is a utility box with a mosaic mural and a big sign about dumping…

The plaque I mentioned lists, along with the people who helped create this place, the artist as Mark Flickinger.

Hours: During the day, at least

Parking: Street parking

Location: On the north side of Speedway, a few blocks east of Pantano Wash