ALBUQUERQUE – Parking spaces are meant for cars. That’s been the prevailing wisdom among drivers and city planners for years. But now, ABQ RIDE is helping Albuquerque join a growing movement to turn some urban parking spaces in the city into parklets; aesthetically-pleasing mini-parks with such things as greenery or art and seating for people.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, ABQ RIDE furthers the movement in Albuquerque with a parkletof its own in the parking lot of the Student Services Building of Central New Mexico Community College at University Blvd SE and Basehart Rd. As part of its eight-month long “Clear the Air” campaign, ABQ RIDE will convert four parking spaces into a small park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seating and greenery will be provided by the Parks and Recreation Department.

“The idea of the parklet is to promote using public transit and other alternative transportation; repurposing space that might be used to hold cars into an urban environment that anyone can enjoy,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry. “As a small park, it also promotes a sense of community and healthy lifestyles.”

The parklet movement began in San Francisco in 2010 and has spread to cities worldwide. Every Sept. 20, parklets spring up around the world as part of PARK(ing) Day, an annual event where artists, designers and citizens transform mostly metered parking spots into temporary public parks. Locally, different groups at UNM placed a series of parklets in Downtown on the north side of Central SW between 5th and 6th Streets on Sept. 20.

At ABQ RIDE’s parklet, people can register for the “Clear the Air” campaign and pledge to use alternative transportation. Registrants will not only be automatically entered in an upcoming drawing to win Beats Pill speakers and gift certificates to local restaurants, but will also receive free pizza during the noontime hour. Participants can download ABQ RIDE’s free iPhone app, get a demonstration of the free TXT2RIDE texting service and find out the best routes for getting around town. CNM will also be there to update current school ID’s used by students, faculty and staff to ride ABQ RIDE for free.

“This parklet reaffirms ABQ RIDE and the City’s commitment to having people use public transit and alternative forms of transportation,” said Bruce Rizzieri, Director of ABQ RIDE. “It also encourages people to get out, walk and meet others in a park environment that otherwise would be just another stretch of asphalt.”