You can find events in your area through the map on the Parkingday.org site.
– – –
What is PARK(ing) Day, you ask? According to Parkingday.org,
PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!
– – –
You can find out more about PARK(ing) Day by reading an article in Smithsonian magazine. Some highlights:
The genesis of Park(ing) Day began in 2005, while Passmore was working in a downtown building, watching cars going in and out of metered spaces. “I had a vision of time-lapse photography, and started thinking: What if an art gallery came in for two hours, or a park came in for two hours? I looked into the law and found that, in San Francisco, it’s technically legal to do something with a metered parking space, apart from storing your car there.” … …
“We did it on November 16, 2005, on Mission Street,” Passmore recalls. “It lasted two hours: the maximum time offered on the meter.” Despite his legal research, Rebar’s foray into guerilla landscape architecture was filled with trepidation. “We actually had speeches prepared for the police: speeches about how we were acting in the public interest, planned to clean up after ourselves and so on. Because we were sure we were going to be arrested.” But nothing happened. “A few meter maids scooted by,” Passmore says with a laugh. “They must have assumed we had a permit—because no one in their right mind would try to do something like this otherwise.”
The event swept through the blogosphere. Suddenly, people all over the country wanted to turn parking spaces into parks. “People were asking us to replicate our project in their cities—which was difficult to do. We were just three guys with day jobs. Rebar was something we did on weekends. So we decided to make a how-to manual and let people do it on their own.”
– – –
GreenTRIP is a certification program developed by TRANSFORM, an organization that “works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area.” According to the TRANSFORM website:
GreenTRIP is a powerful new certification program that rewards residential in-fill projects that apply comprehensive strategies to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. GreenTRIP certification standards supports projects providing appropriate amounts of parking and offer effective incentives for new residents to drive less and own fewer vehicles. Since these types of developments create less driving and use less land for parking, there’s more space for shops, services, and affordable homes – plus less traffic and pollution.
For more information on the certification and the pilot projects, visit the TRANSFORM website.
– – –
These are the days of traffic snarls, extended rush hours, bridge toll increases and scarce parking in many areas of the city.
However, there are some San Franciscans besides cyclists and public transit boosters taking matters into their own hands. I am talking about parking space brokers.
Its no surprise that established garages should have an online presence; many people opt to park in such lots everyday to go to work, so it’s nearly a given that such lots will allow reservations and payments via the web. But you can also arrange a ready space in a random private driveway, church parking lot or off-hour establishment.
Gottapark has been around for several years, bringing the “haves” of parking together with the “have-nots”. Anyone will a parking space to rent, or a parking hopeful looking for a spot can log on and make a match.
Then there is ParkingCarma, a similar service that ups the ante by providing “real-time” monitoring for parking sites with high-tech gadgets. The company states in its online profile: “ParkingCarma is pioneering new ground by using technology to improve quality of life and the environment, while solving one of today’s largest metropolitan issues: Parking. SmartParking is the application of information technology to improve parking, thereby mitigating the environmental impact of vehicles.”
Um, okay. I’ll go along with quality of life thing, but I doubt if lack of parking is the biggest environmental impact of vehicles.
But on further examination of the ParkingCarma site, they do make some persuasive points. Namely, pre-arranged parking could help ease traffic congestion and prevent people from driving around and around aimlessly looking for a spot- which would of course help to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. This model also is predicated upon the activation of under-utilized space, potentially preventing the need for (as many) new parking structures.
_ _ _