Houston’s First Official Parklet Is Now Resting Outside a 19th St. Mattress Store

Parklet at 321 W. 19th St., Houston Heights

No, it’s a bit more than a sidewalk planter. That thing you’re looking at that’s sitting across from the New Living Bedroom store in the Heights is the city of Houston’s first-ever permitted parklet — or at least it will be after Thursday, when an official ceremony with the mayor and a couple of councilmembers in attendance inaugurates it officially as a tiny park. (A parklet was set up on Travis St. Downtown for a weekend last year, but the parking disruption was just a temporary thing.)

The “semi-permanent” green installation in front of 321 W. 19th St. measures a whopping 125 sq. ft., taking up a single street parking spot. Designed and built by some of the workers in the “Made at New Living” program run out of New Living and its Kirby Dr. storefront, the 19th St. installation is meant to be the first piece in a pilot parklet program promoted by the city.

Photo: New Living

Bedroom Community

46 Comment

  • What is this… a park for ants?

  • Seriously? This glorified planter ( cute as it may be) really warrants a ceremony where do nothing Parker and her sycophants can croon about this while the rest of the city crumbles ?
    News flash, putting some potted plants on the sidewalk would give the same effect. Can this administration ever focus on big picture items instead of pandering to a bunch of “feel good” non issues?

  • So is this the reason for the new parking requirements? You have to have 5 more spots per SF than in the past so we can eventually convert one to bike parking and one to a parklet.

    S T U P I D

  • That second photo is definitely not in Houston, at least not on 19th Street.

  • @sjh: Yikes! You’re right. We’ve removed it.

  • Maybe when the Mayor gets done clapping about this planter, she could have a look at Wright-Bembry Park on 23rd St. The grass there hasn’t been mowed in over a month. Too bad we can’t maintain the parks the city already has.

  • This is cute and all, and 19th Street could use some green, but the parking situation on this block is terrible. The spaces aren’t striped, so no one knows (or cares) how to park and it reduces the number of available spaces. On any given day, you will get so many people parked cattywampus that you end up with probably 2/3 of the parking you could have. And now we’re giving flower pots a spot? Maybe re-stripe the spaces and get the street organized before installing a project like this.

  • I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago and saw a lot of these around town. Most seemed to be used as a way for restaurants to get some extra outdoor seating. I’m not sure what kind of a person is going to go to the new living store and sit outside in this thing. Maybe they are just trying to make a statement to other businesses around town about something that is possible. I am sure this is going to cause a stir among all the people in the Heights that don’t like people parking on the street beside there homes. They will probably envision some apocalyptic scenario where 19th st. loses all its parking to these things. I would settle for some more bike racks around town.

  • Houston’s first parklet…how sad! Many other cities in the US and even our state are light years ahead of Houston when it comes to attracting and enhancing pedestrian traffic and sidewalks. Oh, I forgot, our residents sentimentality is “Houston is a rebel and does it’s own thing” crap (whatever that is), which seriously sounds like an lazy excuse for maintaining such a subpar city. Houston will eternally be playing catch up when it comes to improving quality of life and the general aesthetics of the city. It’s a huge reason why a lot of outsiders don’t and will not take our city seriously, only when it comes to the jobs created in a volatile boom and BUST market based on predominately oil industries.

  • This looks like a small dumpster with weeds. The idea is very San Fran; “recapture” private use of the street (cars) and transfer it into public use. But this isn’t even usuable so I’m guessing it and the ceremony are more symbolic and experimental.

  • Un.freakin’.believable! And, that sure looks like it’s on more than one parking space. Hard to understand why something like this is endorsed by COH. Who will maintain it?

  • Thankfully, we live in Houston (not San Francisco or the other cities that another commentator claims are ‘light years’ in front of us) and we no less than six real parks (four city parks, one private park, and one SPARK park) within a one-mile radius of this planter (“parklet”), for people who want a park with more options than a single hammock.

  • This is a great idea because there are far too many parking spaces along this road.

  • Houston needs additional on-street parking – all over – way way more than it needs “parklets.” If we want sidewalk-oriented retail to have a fighting chance in Houston, curbside parking is a must, at least until the pedestrian density becomes a whole lot higher.

  • An official ceremony, with the mayor, for this. So is she going to turn over a few clods of dirt? Cut a ribbon? Smash a bottle of champagne on the thing? Video at 5.

  • This is clearly the work of UN Agenda 21 and a direct attack on the sovereignty of our parking spaces. I have heard in several well regarded prepper chat rooms that this so called “parklet” has been succeeded to the UN and will be a safe haven for immigrants seeking amnesty from US immigration laws. The Center for Constitutional Law and Parking has already filed an injunction in Federal court seeking immediate restoration of this parking space to its natural and God given duty of providing parking that is 4 feet more convenient than the parking space immediately adjacent to the one that has been blocked. Senator Ted Cruz has said that he will filibuster the pending bill to appropriate money to fund research into really awful but potentially very curable child diseases with minimal funding for the government that only strike the cutest and best behaved children until the President issues an executive order directing Navy SEALs to immediate seize the “parklet” and restore it to a single parking space. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin will be in town tomorrow to lead a “Free Parking Space No. 32 and Impeach Obama” rally in front of the communistical organic mattress store. But until then, all Swamplotters should make sure their home security cameras are trained on the parking spaces in front of their houses. Remember Hitler’s famous threat: “Today a parklet in front of the mattress store, tomorrow the world!!!!”

  • it looks like a large bunch of potted plants that I hope are too heavy steal. Backing out of a parking spot on 19th st can be kind of risky because some of the parking spots are deep, and so narrow. You’re halfway out in the street before you can see cars coming. Bikes are nice if you are so inclined to ride your bike and shop, and buy something you can tote home on a bike. Lots of shoppers, especially those that no where near the Heights area and use Cars. and trucks too.

  • Weird and unfortunate focus of the Mayor’s attention imho.

    While I agree Houston is years behind most cities in public/pedestrian friendliness… I also feel Houston has a unique situation given the humid, temperate climate.
    Water gardens and fountains (who cares if the homeless bathe in them)
    Rain gardens under highways where run-off occurs (also filters contaminants before reaching the bayous)
    Green roofs incorporating mosses / grasses among the acreage of AC condensers in this city…

  • As others have noted, this is a ridiculous concept – and for Da Mayor and some City Council members to trek out to this thing to have a “ceremony” is simply begging for mockery. They need to be working on the potholes, flooding, and abandoned homes instead of this bit of puffery.
    Houston is fortunate to have plenty of great parks like Hermann Park, Memorial, and (even) Herman Brown. I’m guessing that this “mini dumpster” posing as a park is just to make the mediocre parks feel better about their egos.

  • I call bullsh*t on this one!!! In sorry, but our City and especially the inner city; Montrose, Heights, 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th wards are falling apart from infrastructure failures…

    Horrible drainage, broken and non existent sidewalks, asphalt that is moving up/down/left and right! We can’t fix/maintain our basic services, yet building permits are at an ALL time high of $7.3 billion dollars! Yes, billion with a B y’all!

    This is horse sh*t… I’m sorry to be so vulgar, but I love my home town City and know that if we do not address items more significant than ‘parklets’. We run the risk of getting to the tipping point of no return. If we are not there already!!!

  • Before there were cars, there were still streets, and people used them for socializing, sale of goods and services as well as non-motorized transport. We forget that the street is a public space for people and that cars do not have to come before public health and well-being. This project is an attempt at remembering our past, before cars dominated society.

  • wow, reading through these comments I had no idea Houston had such a well-organized citizens patrol looking out for my parking interests. I would hate to see our city’s beloved sea of asphalt compromised by a tiny pocket park! And what kind of self-respecting shop owner would give up a prime parking spot just to let people enjoy the public space in front of their shop!!!

  • It’s almost metaphorical for how little the City of Houston cares about green space.

    ShadyHeightster: same story with Halbert Park.

  • This looks awkward. Sacrificing a few spots to insert traditional green islands/dividers would look much better and help to organize the parking.

  • This looks inspired by that episode of Parks and Rec where the city of Pawnee carved a tiny park out of the concrete pad where a payphone was removed.

  • @Old School. Truly a masterpiece.

  • I’m sorry, is this a Portlandia skit that got filmed in Houston for some reason? Surely this is a joke.

  • I love that New Living did this! What a lovely and thoughtful thing to bring to our city. Never in my lifetime did I think I would see something like this in my home city. I couldn’t be more proud of Houston. I hope more green initiatives will follow.

  • Needs shade. Mayor and COH should provide more attention and resources to the Spark Park program, established by the late Eleanor Tinsley. At present the one near us is sometimes open, sometimes closed. The school could probably use some help with its maintenance as well. The concept is wonderful, though – swings and slides, running space and shade available at school playgrounds on the week-ends.

  • this is proof of aliens on earth

  • I love it! Great job to all who made it happen. Keep it up!!

  • Cute idea, I guess, and if someone is willing to maintain it, great. Hopefully future iterations will be better looking than this one, which looks like something that needs to be hauled off.

  • Bemoaning the loss of a single parking space is silly. 19th street has plenty of parking available-no one was complaining when I saw a food truck parked by Boomtown earlier this year. However well meaning this concept is, this iteration is an oversized container garden. The city should be promoting shaded, pedestrian friendly development–and take some financial responsibilty for it, too. This whole thing about individuals being responsible for the sidewalk construction and maintenance is ridiculous to me especially for a major metropolitan US city (grew up in a close in Chicago suburb which was largely developed in the 50’s) although I’m sure it isn’t unique to Houston.

  • I drove by last night, and there was 2 hour wait to get into the parklet.

  • At first I thought this was a joke…a permit by the city for this kind of eyesore. I would suggest boycotting that goofy New Living store…is there any business there anyway???? I was driving by there last night to see the parklet (it is NOT a park) when going to my cleaners and OMG, OMG again. it was sticking out into the roadway. It actually is, go and see it. I went by there again today in the day to take a picture of it sticking out and it doesn’t stick out in the day because of parked cars. Some drunk person will hit it for sure at night, or a bicycle. I would like to see the person in permitting get sued when that happens because this is GROSS NEGLIGENCE in sticking out a big dark planter at night with a silly orange cone. Some city inspector had to approve it, or his boss. They should get sued for the future damages that will come. PLease City get some SENSE – put this in your neighborhood blocking the street. OMG for the 3rd time. Hey attorneys, take some pictures because you will have a lawsuit, and sue the goof inspector who passed it. maybe I can have one in front of my house blocking the road, HA! OMG for the 4th time Someone should make a public records request to the city to find out who authorized this and make them accountable. OMG for the 5th time!

  • This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Oh c’mon guys, chill out and find some more things to worry about. It’s only one (maybe 2) parking spot and hardly cost anything. It looks great, it’s a fun idea for 19th st.

  • i think we should all go build parklets and see what happens. why would anyone spend time to protect parking? it’s so misguided. our streets are dominated by cars and there should be more balance in use on the street. City streets are not meant to be highways, they are meant to be used in a way that supports community. I feel sorry for those who want to stay in their air-conditioned metal bubble and not experience life on the street.

  • Just another stupid waste of time that the mayor spends her time on.

  • Oh right. This bench surrounded by yuccas and natives grasses gives the penultimate experience of street life. No shade from the relentless sun or the pouring rain. If COH is serious about “street life” take the Bagby Street approach to 19th and reduce the pavement and actually make it more hospitable to trees and planting sand shade and not some glorified public relations stunt for a private business.

  • Old School, that was hilarious.

  • NiceHeightsLady = not that nice

  • Looks like a good place for the Serial Pooper to do his duty

  • This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Anus Porker can’t fill the pot holes in the streets, or test the rape kits the HPD have had for over 2 decades, but she and her colleagues have 2 years to work with some hippy mattress store to build a dumpster with weeds? This is what Houston’s “Sustainability Director” spends his time doing??? No worries, the skate boarders and the homeless will trash this thing in 2 weeks.

  • Can we turn all our potholes into parklets???
    WTH !!!! LMAO!

  • A what…??