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Economic Effect of Pico Rivera ‘Parklets’ Will Soon Be Evaluated

THE PARKLET in front of Brewjeria in Pico Rivera, the three month evaluation period is near its end. The parklets are re-purposed shipping containers, city officials say the program is doing well. Pico Rivera

BY BRIAN HEWS • February 13, 2021

In response to the pandemic, the City of Pico Rivera in November 2020 took a bold step, designing a new parklet in the community using a re-purposed shipping container to transform parking spaces in front of a restaurant into an outdoor dining area.

“Parklets invite people to support local businesses and residents by offering new and exciting public facilities,” said Steve Carmona, Pico Rivera city manager.

The project evaluation period was scheduled from November to February 14, but it was extended due to the last COVID shut-down.

“We had to extend the period,” said Councilman Gustavo Camacho, “the holiday surge forced us to cut the container use.”

Painted with bright colors to pay homage to the city’s history, the container was placed on Durfee Avenue in front of Brewjeria Company, a family owned pub.

“We’ve really struggled these last seven months, basically being closed to the public and only offering to go,” said Agustin Ruelas, co-founder and president of Brewjeria Company. “Adding this container allowed us to have more seating … really kind of giving us hope that we can kind of make it through COVID.”

The parklet was also made available to the general public to use when Brewjeria is open.creating a structural barrier between cars and the folks inside the parklet.

“We’re were excited to share this with our guests and our customers that are coming through. And get to see something new and something awesome,” said Ruelas.

“Our parklets are intended to transform small segments of local streets into “micro-parks” and can be used as outdoor dining spaces,” said Camacho.

“They are designed to entice people to support our local businesses by offering new and exciting public facilities alfresco and they come in many shapes, forms and designs. Parklets are also designed with safety as its top priority and will serve as a structural barrier between vehicles on the street and residents enjoying the parklet.”

The City also wanted to ensure the parklet was functional and looked good. Muralist Alexis O’Neal painted the container with festive colors to reflect Pico Rivera’s agricultural history.

During the  extended pilot period, the City will evaluate the overall effects to the local community. Information gathered could be used to develop a citywide parklet program. If successful, the City is prepared to expand the program with additional parklets located at other restaurants and venues.

“We will evaluate soon, this may not be the first parklet to support local businesses and our residents and stimulate local economic activity,” said Carmona.