San Francisco residents are becoming increasingly familiar with the concept of PARK(ing) days. This is a quirky international phenomenon where a metered parking space is converted to a mini park! It’s been popular ’round these parts for a couple of years, and has been spawning the movement to convert parking spaces more “permanently” into little parklets. Most of the parklets have come about by petition from an individual business wanting to add some space for outdoor seating.
My friend Jonathan (from school and from Alcatraz volunteering) has started a company called Feel the Earth, and he is participating in PARK(ing) Day 2011 by hosting an installation parklet in the Civic Center. His Urban Earth installation will be on Friday, September 16, from 9am to 5pm right across from the Main Library steps. Stop by to check out his project and lend support, if you’re around that day! They’ll be set up next to SF Environment, who will be doling out free compost!
So, what is it? The concept is that you commandeer a parking space and feed the meter for the two-hour limit. The space is yours to do with as you see fit, so long as the meter is paid. Many creative personalities have created mini temporary parks to sit and chill for a spell using Astroturf or real sod, lawn chairs, benches, potted trees and plants… It’s a real hoot!
This has led to some permanent installations, where a business has the parking space out front fitted with a platform (to bring it up to grade with the sidewalk), then surrounds the platform with planters and pops in some seating. Sure, you’re sitting out in the street, but it’s novel and creative. Somewhat controversial to those feeling the crunch of the lack of parking, but there are different sides to the story and I’ll leave that to someone else. Just reporting, here. 🙂