From Park(ing) Day to Park(d) Plaza

A rendering of how Park(d) Plaza will look when it is unveiled on October 22.

Last year, City Fabrick–an urban design nonprofit which attempts to transform physical environments for people–opted for a different approach to Park(ing) Day. Instead of occupying a metered space, they opted–via nothing but black and white masking tape–to create a space for the public without losing a single parking stall.

Their newest project, Park(d) Plaza, doesn’t shy away from the philosophy that public space can be altered to offer the same services for, say, car parking, but also extend into those exploring their neighborhoods on feet.

Reconfiguring an entire parking lot–in conjunction with the support of Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and Building Healthy Communities–located at 4th Street in between Elm and Linden on Frontenac Court, the 30-foot by 75-foot sidewalk accessible space not only boasts improved disability access, but actually ADDS a parking stall.

“Our goal is to show off the opportunity to display win-win on the use of public assets,” explained Brian Ulaszewski, executive director of City Fabrick, who calls this a do-it-together urbanism project.

The City Infrastructure Funds/California Endowment-funded space, which cost $6354, is decked out with an info-graphic paint design that provides stats on how the plaza was created and what it offers. The space is entirely temporary until the property owners, the City of Long Beach and the Tousi family, wish to do something else with the lot.

This upcoming Monday, October 22 at 11:00am, the public is invited to check out the plaza and grub on some food offered by a food truck.

  • Davistrain

    It wasn’t until I read the next to last sentence that I determined the location to be Long Beach.  Before I even got that far, I figured that’s where it was and confirmed it with a look at a map, but it’s usually a good idea to name the city fairly early in the article unless it’s strictly for local consumption.  (I have the same problem with railfans who post items on and expect everybody to know where, for example, Perris CA is, or whether they’re discussing Springfield in Ohio, Missouri, Oregon, Massachusetts, or several other states.)

  • PC

    Just had a look at the Plaza, and was moved to exclaim aloud: “Yup, that’s a bunch of self-congratulatory paint at the edge of a parking lot, all right!” I sincerely hope that it someday becomes…something.

  • Yeah. I can’t really tell what they’re trying to achieve here. 

  • The rendering above is just for the plaza floor graphics.The numbers correlate with various facts about the plaza (i.e. gallons of paint used, total cost, land value, etc.). I can see how this by itself can still seem underwhelming. On top of those bold yellow stripes will be 25 chairs, umbrellas, 2 bicycle corrals, and some landscaping. A designated food truck spot was also created to help anchor the plaza. This space was formally just a parking lot. With very limited funds, it now has more car parking, more bike parking, food truck parking, people ‘parking’ (with the chairs), and ADA handicap accessible. Sounds like a win-win to me.  

  • PC

    Thanks, Baktaash Sorkhabi, for providing some information (which should have been in the article in the first place) regarding the amenities that will, one hopes, make the project useful to actual human beings. We’ll see!

  • Yes, agree with PC that this is helpful to know. The graphic used above sold the project short!

  • PC

    Well…I should point out that when I said “checked out the Plaza” I meant that I visited it. On Saturday afternoon, and again on Sunday. So it’s not just the graphic selling the project short; the physical project sells itself short by failing to engage passersby (who don’t happen to already be dabblers in livable-streets issues and readers of Streetsblog) in any way at all that even remotely suggests that this painted edge of a parking lot is something that they are invited to help transform into…something other than the edge of a parking lot. Instead it just verbally pats itself on the back for reducing surface temperature and adding a parking space. It comes off very much as something to be gazed at and admired, rather than used. Was that the intention?

    I hope the food trucks yesterday helped. I couldn’t make it.


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