Want a Park(ing) Day Spot? 50 Spaces Now Available.

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Mark September 19 on your calendars. That’s when Park(ing) Day returns to New York. Last year, neighborhood groups all over the city got into the street reclamation groove, converting 25 parking spots into temporary parks. Park(ing) Day 2008 figures to be even more visible. Fifty spots will be set aside to show how public street space can be put to better use than storing cars.

If you want to get in on the action, the Park(ing) Day organizers have set up a handy website where you can apply for a space. The deadline to apply is August 8, and mini-grants are available for materials and supplies. Call me a Park(ing) Day traditionalist, but I’m partial to the spots that roll out some nice, cushy sod.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’ve been waiting for this to be sort of on-topic, so I could make this suggestion.

    One of the dangers in driving in mid-and-high density areas is the difficulty seeing at corners, particularly if an SUV is parked there. Up the block from me, a “no parking anytime” zone was created and a space removed after a series of accidents.

    It would seem to me that bicycles would not create the same complete obstruction of view. And even in residential area, not every tenant has a place to store their bike indoors.

    How about expending the sidewalk to occupy the spaces as the corners, installing bike racks, and using them for bike parking instead of auto parking?

  • I loved this event last year, but frankly I’m scared to do it in my area. You’d get heckled to death by parking obsessed drivers and the cops. But, on the other hand, the South Bronx is an area where parking has been replacing park space all over the place. We’re supposed to get a “net gain” when the new stadium is done, but I’ll believe that when I see it!

    I worry that trying this kind of event in the Bronx would just make people hate you, rather than get them to think. Am I just being silly?

  • One of the dangers in driving in mid-and-high density areas is the difficulty seeing at corners, particularly if an SUV is parked there. Up the block from me, a “no parking anytime” zone was created and a space removed after a series of accidents.

    Thanks for bringing that up! We’ve got a few of those in our neighborhoods, and are trying to get them on Skillman Avenue, where a girl was injured in May by a woman who was trying to see around the parked cars. Maybe we’ll do a Park(ing) day action to show people how much the visibility could be improved.

  • Susan,

    Join up and get a big group of people to work together to do a PARKing spot. OR work with a local organization or community group, so that way you’ll have a lot of help and support. I think the biggest thing is to get a big enough group of people so that even if you get heckled, you can ignore it and not feel threatened.

    Since I went out and video-ed many of the PARKing Day spots last year I can report very little in the way of people being uncomfortable in their spots. Just watch the video!

  • Susan, I second what Clarence says above. We’ve done two PARKing spot events in Park Slope — perhaps the nation’s most parking-obsessed neighborhood — and we’ve gotten 100 positive comments from passersby for every one complaint from a motorist. It’s well worth doing, especially if you can get some like-minded (and not easily insulted) friends to join you. Pick a street with a lot of foot traffic and you’ll see how many people stop by to chat and check out what you’re doing. And you’ll be provoking thought and getting people to look at street space in a new context, to boot.

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