Announcing the “Parking Day Ride”


Recycled Movie Celebrates Park(ing) Day in East Hollywood in 2008

Mark it down on your calendar, September 18 is the date for this year’s Park(ing) Day LA.  While some people find the event, ahem, a little nerdy; for Livable Streets advocates Park(ing) Day falls somewhere between their birthday and Halloween in their list of favorite holidays.

Last year, I pedaled about 30 miles with no companion except Gunpowder to visit fifteen different temporary parks.  This year, I’m opening up an invitation to everyone to join me for the First Annual Streetsblog Park(ing) Day Ride.  I won’t have an exact route until we know all of the exact sites, but I expect the schedule to look like this.

9:00 A.M. – Visit the Santa Monica Parking Day sites then head to Mid-Wilshire.

11:00 A.M. ish – Visit the Mid-Wilshire sites and grab lunch

Afternoon – visit as many sites as we can Downtown

3:00 P.M. ish – End at the East Hollywood N.C. site in the Hel-Mel district.

When I have a final route I’ll post it and people are willing to join me for as much, or as little of the ride as they want.  If we get enough interest, I’ll try and figure something out for ride cards as well.

For the uninitiated, Park(ing) Day is a once a year global event where advocates, architects and people that love open space convert a parking spaces into small public parks.  The purpose of the event is to remind people of what we give up in the quest for low-cost parking.  What would you be willing to give up for more parks?  Last year’s Park(ing) Day L.A. had over 70 parks.  The year before their were only 50.

  • Spokker

    When this event happens does anyone ever just park over the crap you put on the ground?

    Do the participants feed the meters?

    Do any of these people have jobs?

  • Spokker

    Do any of the participants use a car to drop all their shit off at the parking spot? Just wondering.

  • Spokker

    One more question. Let’s say the goals are met. Acres of park land 1000 residents or whatever metric is being used rises and blacks and Latinos have the same amount access to parks as whites. Will these demonstrations stop, or are people in it for the attention? Are they in it because protest is fun?

    I mean, I get what the message is, and it’s an admirable one. I love parks too. But I often wonder if participants get lost in the culture of advocacy. Once the world fits your utopian vision, what else is left for you to do? For some, it may be in their best interest for nothing to get fixed because this is their only creative outlet in life.

  • 1) In most cases, the meter is fed all day. Sometimes by the people who’s park it is. Sometimes they ask for donations. When I went around last year I had a roll of quarters and dropped one in every meter that needed it.

    2) Many of the meters are done by companies and firms as a way of showing support, doing something fun for their employees and advertising. The latter is true especially in the case of architecture firms.

    Sometimes the spaces are just up for a couple of hours. Last year I ran into two ladies who just spread out a blanket and a couple of pots on their lunch hour and set up a sign. They’re as much a part of Park(ing) Day as any of the big displays.

    And of course LA has a large freelance community. On top of that, a lot of people just take the day off.

    3) It varies. I saw plenty of bikes, some transit, and yes people using freight trucks to move stuff. I know a consortium of companies that rented plants had all of them picked up and dropped off by the same company so that the vmt was kept to a minimum.

    4) I can’t speak for anyone else. But I would be thrilled if Streetsblog became a “good news” blog similar to the one in NY. My readership might go down, but I much prefer victory laps to rolling the stone uphill.

  • Joe

    @spokker: Will these “demonstrations” stop?

    I would definitely call parking day a “demonstration” and not a “protest.” It demonstrates one way of using public space. As far as what issues these demonstrations might help people to consider, your comment doesn’t indicate to me that you quite “get it” as you say. I would suggest that it’s not just about parks… it’s also about streets and about parking. I enjoy demonstrating joy in public spaces (for example: bicycling,) and I don’t expect to stop demonstrating this if Los Angeles builds zillions of parks, creates complete streets, and does away with its excesses in space allocated to parking.

    Here’s my favorite Park(ing) Day L.A. video about a recent Team Pedal Power park that a few of us put together and really enjoyed:

  • Joe

    more answers for spokker:

    1) Yes, lots of people park at these mini-parks. They just sit down, parking themselves in the benches and chairs newly arrived in the space.

    You asked if “anyone” just parks… did you mean to ask if people park their bikes or cars at these parks? They generally won’t park their bikes in the space itself, because it’s small… so they park them alongside it, often at the parking meter. (It’s a really interesting and common metonym that people confuse their cars with them – “he hit me” instead of “his car hit my car”)

    2) Yes, the parks pay the meters. Renting a parking space is so much cheaper than any other real estate rental locally. It’s a tremendous bargain!

    3) Yes, we all have jobs as far as I know.

  • Spokker

    I respect the people who work in Downtown LA a lot more than anyone who uses their Friday to inconvenience people who are just trying to make a living, whether or not they use a car to make that living.

    Someone on CurbedLA had a funny comment. He said, “Am I the last one who works on a Friday in Downtown LA?” Christ, didn’t your mother ever tell you not to play in the street?

    “and I don’t expect to stop demonstrating this if Los Angeles builds zillions of parks, creates complete streets, and does away with its excesses in space allocated to parking.”

    Maybe when people who own cars pretend to be victimized by society and go and park in bike lanes will you realize how retarded this event is.

  • Spokker

    “enjoy demonstrating joy in public spaces (for example: bicycling,)”

    I know you don’t think there’s any joy in driving, but not everyone has the same insane world view you do. You have some big fucking balls to impose your world view on others with this ridiculous event.

    Go through the proper channels and get more space allocated to bikes, parks, pedestrians amenities or whatever. I’ll support it. But fuck off with this Park[ing] Day bullshit.

  • Spokker

    “On top of that, a lot of people just take the day off.”

    I hope whatever companies those people work for remember that they took the day off in the midst of a horrible recession to go play in the street and let them go when the next round of lay offs start. Then they’ll realize LA isn’t their fucking personal playground.

  • by architects you mean both building and landscape right?
    I think i’ll go on that ride this year. I’ve done a spot at cal poly the past two years.

  • lol @ pretentious comment.

  • David Galvan

    Dang Spokker. Calm down. If people pay for the use of the parking spot they should be able to do whatever they want on it. This an event to raise awareness. It’s harmless.

  • Joe

    @S’s: “Maybe when people who own cars pretend to be victimized by society and go and park in bike lanes…”

    hmmm… people already park their cars frequently in bike lanes (the few that we actually have around here)

  • Spokker,

    I work downtown and I participate every year. I do take the day off and coincidentally my employer is perfectly fine with it. I dont consider LA my personal playground but rather everywhere I go is my personal pocket park. Feel free to come down to the East Hollywood Park[ing] Day establishment on September 18th and enjoy a day in my pocket park… of course I wouldnt want you to lose your parking space by coming down to EHo and then spoiling everybodys fun with your upside down smiley face.

    Park Czar

  • I’ve never driven my car to Downtown Los Angeles or Hollywood.

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