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Park(ing) Day

Its held on the third Friday in September — That’s this week.

The idea is to take a parking space or two, and turn it into a park — Roll out some sod, or AstroTurf, bring in some potted plants and trees, put up a bench and enjoy. The founders of the fad, a design firm named Rebar in San Francisco (of course) see it as a way to draw attention to the often dirth of open space in the urban environment, and perhaps get people to think a bit more about the good earth and a bit less about the hustle and bustle of urban life, at least, as they put it, until the meter runs out.  I think they are  closet anti car bicycle riders, but they don’t stress that aspect.

I must be mellowing, because when this started in 2005 with one space in Baghdad by the Bay, I poo pooed the idea as a passing fancy. in 2014 there were nearly 1000 parking space size parks in 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents.  What no Antarctica?

This project seems to have taken a life of its own. Parklets, as they are called, are now themed, changing with flora, fauna (dog park), and other themes. One in Phoenix this year even has a “pillow fight” theme.  Here’s a Phoenix Parklet from last year”

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If we haven’t already, why not embrace Park(ing) day as an industry. Or at least make it easy for groups to set up parklets and give guidelines as to dos and don’ts. I can see little harm, and great PR. Imagine — evil parking Nazis sitting in a park built on a parking spot. People might even speak to the officers and who knows…make a friend or two.

JVH

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