Monday, February 1, 2021

La Capilla Neighborhood Garden

This little spot is two blocks west of 6th Avenue, just off the El Paso & Southern Greenway (a bike/pedestrian path that's under construction; click there for the plan), in the city of South Tucson. As this Google Street View photo shows, there are a couple of benches:

There's a closeup of the mural in tomorrow's entry, La Capilla Neighborhood Garden, on the Tucson Murals Project blog. (The link won't work until tomorrow, February 2.)

LOCATION: Three blocks west of 6th Avenue on 34th Street

PARKING: Street parking

HOURS: Irregular. The gate was locked both times I stopped by.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A pandemic idea: Restaurant parklets

Here's a #ThisIsTucson article, from the Arizona Daily Star:

A solution for Tucson restaurants during coronavirus — create a "streatery" out front

And from KVOA News4Tucson:

New trend could help local restaurants stay open

Monday, August 3, 2020

Favorite Places: Tucson’s Back Alleys

This isn't about a specific place. It's not about parklets… although they are often cooler than the streets around them and can be interesting to explore. They're the alleys of central Tucson. A friend told me about this show, part of the 2015 Arizona Public Media TV series Favorite Places: Thirteen architects speak thoughtfully and personally about a favorite building or space in Southern Arizona. This show, one of the thirteen, is by Liz Farkas:

If you'd like to view it in another window, here's the link:

Click the "Location:" link at the end of this article for an area map. (Hint: There are more alleys toward downtown and in other parts of town. Google Maps can help you find them, and the Satellite View can help you figure out if they might be impassable — which some are.)

Why not take an (often) shady walk?

PS: If you enjoy local productions like this, why not join AZPM? (Here's a list of their original productions.) Even $5 or $10 a month can give back for the work they contribute to all of us — and help their radio broadcasts too.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Picnic and playground with A view

In the Barrio Kroeger Lane Neighborhood Association is this wonderful little parklet called Verdugo Park. Just across the Santa Cruz is “A” Mountain (painted blue the week I was there, May 9th). There's access to The Loop bicycle and multi-use path. There are big and small grills, shaded picnic tables, a playground, basketball hoop, a ramada, and a drinking fountain.

Playground, picnic table and small grill

Ramada and large grill

Closeup of large grill

Basketball hoop (The Loop and blue “A” Mountain behind)

Just a bit south is a community garden (overgrown now) with a four-sided mural and another picnic table. Today's entry Mural on a box in a garden (click there to see it) on The Tucson Murals Project blog shows it.

LOCATION: Just northwest of 22nd Street at I-10 along The Loop path.

PARKING:Three car parking spaces, also street parking. A bit of bike parking.

HOURS: There's one streetlight over the parking area. A sign says the parklet is closed from 10 PM to 6 AM, but this is very much in the middle of a neighborhood… you might want to leave earlier.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Munch with a Boneyard view

If you'd like to have lunch with a view of the Airplane Boneyard, this parklet (a ramada with two picnic tables, a bike rack and a drinking fountain) could be just the spot. It doesn't have an address that I know of, but it's across Escalante Road from the home at 6523. A bicycle path runs by.

HOURS: 24 hours (but bring your own light at night)

PARKING: Along the side of Escalante (plenty of room)

LOCATION: Just north of the Boneyard, halfway between Wilmot and Kolb

Monday, February 3, 2020

Park 'n' Park(let)

Just down the street from our previous parklet (at 86 E. Alameda) is the Public Works parking garage. Nestled in a narrow patio between it and the building at 201 N. Stone is this nook:

The high walls around it on the west, south and east, plus the umbrellas over the tables and the tree, should pretty much guarantee shade on a hot day. (I was there on rainy January 21st.) There are bike racks. It's just across the street from the main library, so it's a good place to read outside.

Enter from the north or south. Here's the south entrance, which is just to the right of the parking garage ramp, where the pedestrian is walking toward the camera:

Location: Northeast corner of Alameda and Church

Hours: Daylight — or maybe parking garage hours

Parking: In the garage :)

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

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pantano Wash and Home Depot

I don't think this parklet has a name or an address. It's at the northwest corner of the parking lot for the Home Depot store on Broadway, a couple of tenths of a mile west of Pantano. More important, it's next to the path that runs along the east bank of Pantano Wash.

Here's the view from the dirt path, which is kind of hidden in the trees:

There are four tables inside the fenced enclosure. The gate locks, but there's no sign with the opening hours. There's almost no shade from morning through mid-day:

Each table has splotches of color. They remind me of a child's work. You can see the Home Depot parking behind the table:

Hours: Unknown… probably during the day at least. There's a streetlight over the path that comes up from the wash, and there should be light from the parking lot too.

Parking: Home Depot lot.

Location: Across from the Home Depot Garden Center

Monday, April 2, 2018

Rosendo S. Perez Parklet

This pocket park may look familiar. It's on the south side of the former La Pilita Museum, just down the street from The El Tiradito Shrine and El Minuto Restaurant. The museum is closed, but this little spot is open.

As of this writing, the Tucson City page for the park is being developed. For now, it basically says:
This park is named in honor of Rosendo S. Perez who led neighbors in saving the park area and who spearheaded the effort to get El Tiradito Wishing Shrine on the National Register of Historic Places.
As you can see in the three photos below, you can sit around the compass and the fountain. (By the way, this area once had springs where people could drink, wash laundry, etc. As other springs around Tucson, this one is long-gone. Maybe the dry fountain is symbolic?) These photos are from September 28, 2016:

You can see some of the last ten years' history, and closeups of the blog, by starting from The Tucson Murals Project blog entry La Pilita Museum and then following the links at the end of that page.

Location: Just south of the Convention Center.

Parking: Street parking. Unless you park a few blocks south, you'll pay at a meter. (Or eat at El Minuto. I think the lot just south of the restaurant is free.)

Hours: Daylight hours

Monday, March 5, 2018

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park

Brandi Fenton passed away in March, 2003, at age 13. (Click there to read her obituary from the Arizona Daily Star.) Now a big park with sports fields — and a smaller Community Garden (which we'll focus on here) — are a memorial to her. This park has two main parts. The Garden is nestled in the bigger part: sports fields, a splash park, ramadas, an equestrian area…

There's much more on the park's TucsonTopia page. The Pima County page includes “Reserve a Ramada” a signup form and ramada photos, and more info about the park.

Now for some photos of the Community Garden:

More photos are on the Tucson Murals Project blog in the June 26, 2012 page Brandi Fenton Memorial Park.

Location: For the Community Garden, enter from the corner of Alvernon & River. (If you're coming from the east on River, continue through the stoplight into the park.) For most of the sports fields, enter from Dodge just south of Alvernon.

Hours: 7 AM - 10 PM. There are lights in the parking area and at the sports fields.

Parking: on-site

Monday, February 5, 2018

Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Park

Here's a small(ish) park where you can celebrate 2018 without — Tucsonans hope — any more senseless gun violence. Before he sent me these photos, David Aber wrote on April 4, 2017 (with a few edits from me about your computer):
These photos cover the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Park. Christina was a nine year old girl who was killed by an assassin’s attempt on the life of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

If you'd like to see the Concept Plan for the Memorial Park, click there. North is to the right. (Your computer might ask to save this instead of letting you see it. Save it in a file on your Desktop, then click on it to view.)

This two-acre pocket park is along the CDO wash at the intersection of North Shannon Rd. and West Magee Rd. It is designed for walkers, riders and bikers to stop and take a break as well as for families to relax and contemplate. From what I saw, it appears most everything called for on the concept plan has been accomplished. The flowers, plants and bushes have only recently been planted so it will be awhile before they are able to cover the bare spots.
Pima County's web page (which seems mostly out of date as of this writing) says the park has: Drinking Water, Equestrian Access, Restrooms, Walking Paths, Cycling, Horseback Riding, Walking with Dogs, and Wildlife Viewing.

Here are an Arizona Daily Star news article about Christina-Taylor and the park: Born, died between 2 tragedies and a page from the website: Other monuments and memorials to Christina-Taylor.

Now, on to David's photos. In case you can't see, each park bench has a different design. Click on any photo for a larger view:

Update (February 5, 2018): I stopped by today. The flowers in David's last photo are gone, of course (after almost a year). There were bouquets in Christina-Taylor's arms:

Location: The park is at the southwest corner of Magee and Shannon; it runs between Shannon and the Cañada del Oro Wash. The entrance is on Shannon not far south of Magee.

Hours: Daylight hours.

Parking: There's a small parking lot on-site. The huge lot at the Northwest YMCA is across Shannon; I'd guess that they won't mind if you park there — there's a path from the northwest corner… you can walk from the west or (maybe) the southwest sides of the Y lot.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pas de deux (someday, pas de trois?)

The right edge of the photo above, at the corner of 4th Avenue and Stevens Avenue, shows two sculptures on pedestals. (The empty third pedestal is near the middle of the photo.) Below is a closer view of the two:

This pocket park is in a great location. As David Aber (who sent the photos) wrote: "It’s a nice place to rest and find some shade after a hard day of shopping, eating and drinking on 4th Ave." I'd add that it's also a good place to go on warm evenings." He added "[It has] free-standing wood benches, and two small concrete picnic tables with small benches. It has no name that I could find. However, it is the site of two bronze sculptures by Melody Peters. Melody has named her sculptures ‘Pas de Deux’. I think that is a good name for the park."

The sculptures are a big part of the story of this pocket park. The original plan was for the sculpture to be in the park by the time the new 4th Avenue underpass opened in 2006. My memory is that there'd be two sculptures (a ballet pas de deux) or three (a ballet pas de trois); there are three pedestals. But controversy over the dancers not wearing clothes put the project in limbo… and, as the delays mounted, the price of bronze was skyrocketing. The parklet opened without any sculpture and stayed that way for years.

Eventually, though, the Tucson Transportation Department public art manager realized that the artist might make two identical sculptures from the same mold — which would cut costs. Melody (the artist) agreed, and also aimed to raise funds to make a third sculpture. At the time David took the photos — August 27, 2017 — the two female dancers were still on their own.

(There's more of the story in the 2012 Arizona Daily Star article Long-delayed sculptures to be installed in underpass and the Arts Foundation page Pas de Deux?.)

Location: Corner of 4th Ave. and Stevens Ave. Get here from the Hotel Congress area by walking through the 4th Avenue underpass.

Parking: Limited during busy hours (which is most of the time). Try parking somewhere along the modern streetcar line and riding it to the parklet… or walking south on 4th Avenue to just before the underpass.

Hours: Early morning through late evening.