Friday, September 16, 2011

planners, artists take over ellsworth for park(ing) day

A Park(ing) Day installation in San Francisco from 2009. Photo by iomarch on Flickr. Yesterday, we talked about parklets, which turn underused parking spaces into mini-parks. Though they've become a fixture in communities all around the country, the idea originally came from Park(ing) Day, a yearly event (which is today!) where people take over metered parking spaces for a day and show how they could be otherwise used. In downtown Silver Spring, a few local organizations are setting up Park(ing) Day spaces today along Ellsworth Avenue Drive. Our friends at the Planning Department sent us this press release:
The Planning Department’s complete streets display will go the heart of the intent of Parking Day – to rethink the way streets are used and reinforce the need to improve urban areas. The display will transform a parking space using a three-dimensional version of a streetscape with pedestrian- and bike-friendly elements as well as stormwater management techniques that reduce pollution. Planners and urban designers are recommending the complete streets concept to improve Montgomery County’s aging corridors. Environmental tools like stormwater infiltration trenches lined with plants filter runoff that flows from impervious surfaces into streams and rivers. Pedestrian- and bike-friendly features can improve the street’s use for all people, not just motorists. The Planning Department will be joined in neighboring parking spaces on Ellsworth Avenue Drive by local businesses Pyramid Atlantic, the Green Commuter, and Growing Soul, which will offer art activities and demonstrations of the latest urban-designed bicycles and filtering used vegetable oil for diesel engines. The Congress for New Urbanism-DC will display a beach and a county planner will showcase an artistic view of a park constructed of tissue paper.
Personally, I'm most excited about the beach, though today's projected high of 66 means it'll be a little chilly for swim trunks. I'm going to be in Philadelphia today setting up a Park(ing) Day space with my urban design studio (if you're in the vicinity of 34th & Walnut tomorrow, come and say hi!), but if any of y'all have pictures from Silver Spring I'd be happy to post them. And if you'd like to learn more about Park(ing) Day, check out their website and this map of installations around the world.

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