One Hundred New Parks Spring to Life Today
SAN FRANCISCO- Forty cities across America will gain more than one hundred new downtown parks today.
Today – Friday, September 21, 2007 – is National Park(ing) Day, and metered public parking spots nationwide will become public parks. The project is sponsored by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation nonprofit.
The goals, according to organizers, are to celebrate parks and promote the need for more parks in America’s cities.
Supporters in forty cities, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have announced participation.
Photos from last year’s event, as well as a full list of cities with maps and details is available online at www.tpl.org/parkingday.
“By turning parking spaces into instant parks, National Park(ing) Day is a creative way to demonstrate the real need to create more parks in our cities,” said Will Rogers, TPL president. “Across America, cities are renewing their investments in parks because our civic leaders have come to recognize that close-to-home parks, gardens, and playgrounds are essential if we are to have cities that aren’t just livable, but lovable.”
Examples of planned Park(ing) Day parks include:
New York City: More than twenty parking spots in the five boroughs—including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Penn Station—will be transformed into lawns for lounging, gardens for growing, and other community-minded purposes.
San Francisco: More than fifty Park(ing) parks will include an outdoor office space with a wireless hotspot, a sidewalk plaza, and a Parkcycle designed by Park(ing) Day originators, Rebar.
Los Angeles: In the South LA community along Crenshaw Boulevard, a Park(ing) park will have physical activity features for exercise for the local community to enjoy. Another Park(ing) park downtown will be a tranquility garden – an eco-friendly, drought-tolerant oasis to enjoy a bit of calm while autos and pedestrians hurry by.
Seattle: Two mobile Park(ing) parks will first be sited at the Seattle Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park—each complete with grass, a Hawthorne tree, and a bench—and move down the street until they swap locations. In addition, there will be a stationary park along the waterfront next to the Seattle Aquarium.
Minneapolis and St. Paul: Park(ing) parks in the two cities will reflect contrasting park needs. In Minneapolis, a Park(ing) park in the heart of downtown will highlight need for a downtown park. In St. Paul, a Park(ing) park in the Frogtown neighborhood, where local parks are hard to come by.
Chicago: Three Park(ing) parks will sit in the shadow of the future Bloomingdale Trail right-of-way.
Portland, Ore.: One parking space will be turned into an “outdoor break room” with a Northwest flair, complete with coffee service, seating, and native plants.
Atlanta: A landscaped Park(ing) park in midtown Atlanta will provide a workday respite, with seating and tables. Another Park(ing) park will be an oasis to relieve the stress of everyday urban life and learn more about the environment and the Student Ecology Movement.
Miami, Fla.: A solar-powered park(ing) park will feature art pieces inspired by nature and made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials.
West Palm Beach, Fla.: Two Park(ing) parks across the street from each other will feature children’s areas with games, lounge chairs for relaxing, and music.
Tampa, Fla: One sod-filled parking space will be surrounded by a white picket fence, some chairs and a chess table, and a few dogs to demonstrate the many different ways people can enjoy downtown parks.
Coral Gables, Fla: A Park(ing) Day park located in front of Houston’s restaurant on Miracle Mile will celebrate the city’s downtown park system and promote more community green space in the City Beautiful.
Sacramento: A Park(ing) park will host live local musicians with a place to play chess, in a space plentiful with plants and shade from an umbrella; perfect for enjoying the end of Sacramento’s hot summer days, and encouraging those passing by to “sit here…and dream big.”
Charleston, SC: A green, grassy oasis will be created in a shopping center Park(ing) lot, complete with bistro tables for the lunch crowd, potted trees, and picnic blankets. Frisbees provided for enjoyment.
Austin, Tex.: A Park(ing) park will replicate a nearby natural treasure – Enchanted Rock State Park – with boulders and granite, and plants that grow in the park.
Salt Lake City: Two local design and planning firms (Design Workshop and IBI Group) will install three gardens along the city’s Main Street, each within viewing and walking distance from the other.
Louisville, Ken.: Two spots will be transformed into Park(ing) parks with grass, trees, benches, and plants to provide a refuge from the urban heat island effect in the downtown area. An educational display and digital thermometers will show the mitigating effect of park open space.
Waukegan, Ill.: In downtown Waukegan, the (Park)ing park will feature grass, flowers, plants, benches, park signage, and children’s playground equipment.
Bend, Ore.: Downtown Bend will have a Park(ing) park PARK emphasizing alternative uses of parking spaces by providing grass, benches, bike racks, and native plants.
Providence, RI: A group of local artists are transforming four parking spaces in downtown Providence as a Bike Park with a mobile bike repair unit; a Portable Picnic; a Parquet Park illustrating space used by cars; and an Urban Farming park for learning about urban gardening.
Syracuse, NY: A Park(ing) spot will become an urban oasis with grass, trees, shrubs, and a sitting space.
Flushing, NY: The Design Department of NYC Parks and Recreation will plant Park(ing) spaces at the Olmsted Center, Flushing Meadows Corona Park as vegetated drainage swales, or raingardens. The catch basins will be stencilled with “Drains to the Bay.”
Boone, NC: A Park(ing) park in two parking spaces on College Street will be an invitation to local artists, musicians, and activists to share their work with the community.
“The quality of our daily experience is only enhanced by often neglected necessities like parks, playgrounds, and gardens,” said Rogers, “places that get us in touch with nature, with each other, and with ourselves.”
Fortunately most public parking spaces are available for hourly lease!
TPL, a national conservation nonprofit founded in 1972, is sponsoring National Park(ing) Day 2007, a concept created by San Francisco art collective Rebar (www.rebargroup.org). In 2005, Rebar created its first “PARK(ing)” project by transforming a metered parking spot into a temporary public park, briefly expanding the public realm and improving the quality of urban human habitat (at least until the meter ran out).
“Our goal was to encourage people to rethink the way our streets are used, and to temporarily expand the amount of public open space in an underserved area of downtown San Francisco,” says John Bela, co-founder of Rebar. “We added ‘24,000 square foot-minutes’ of public open space that afternoon.”
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than two million acres nationwide. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.