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Photo from Ubrayj 02's Park in Front of the Flying Pigeon Bike Shop

Well, Park(ing) Day has come and gone and for at least another year, the urban jungle known as Los Angeles will be a little less green than it was for one glorious day last Friday.  However, Park(ing) Day isn't just about temporarily reclaiming some public land for public use, it's about raising awareness that whatever its benefits, there is a high cost we pay for the convenience of on-street parking.

The organiazation that did the best job, at least of the spaces I saw, of illustrating that point had to be Torti Gallas and Partners.  Some readers may remember that their "park" illustrated what the square footage required for a parking space could be used for, and what it would cost to purchase or rent if it were placed on the open market instead of being a subsidized place for private storage.  From their handouts:

As Urbanists we at Torti Gallas ask: what elements of public benefitcould be accommodated if a parking space was used for things other thanjust parking? How can the space be reprogrammed? Could it containsmall-lot affordable housing? Mixed-use development? Geothermal heatingand cooling pumps? Vertical stacking areas for Smart Cars? A continuouslinear park space for joggers and urban hikers? Profitable real estatefor the City?

What is the city losing by giving over so much ofits prime real estate to the car? What could the city and itsinhabitants gain by taking some of this land back?All together,the existing parking spaces in downtown could accommodate:· 1,300 new two-bedroom units (at 1,100 SF per unit). The City could increase the supply of small-lot affordable housing.·13,000 parking spaces for smart cars,using six-story robotic parkingfacilities. Why design a parking space for a Hummer or Escalade? Whynot design the space so that it encourages drivers to chose smallcompact cars?· 4.6 miles of continuous paths. Downtown LA severelylacks green and open space. If the City were to take this land backfrom the car and give it to the pedestrian,we’d have a space that wouldstretch from here to Hancock Park . It’d be a linear green area that isas long as Riverside Park on the westside of Manhattan. Think of allthe dog runs and urban jogging trails the space could accommodate!· Enough geothermal energy to heat 2,280 residential units (at 1,100 SF per unit) and 26.5- office buildings (at 120,000 SF).

Throwinga few quarters into a parking meter,doesn’t reveal the true value ofthe parking space,especially in a dense place like downtown whereproperty values are sky high. Parking the way that we do,for one or twoquarters an hour,is an unfairly inexpensive short-term lease option forthe storage of our vehicles,at a significant cost of our health,ourhousing,and the urban realm. It’s time to rethink the way streets areused and the priority we place on making room for cars.

Donald Shoup himself couldn't have said it better.  For a comprehensive blog coverage of Park(ing) Day LA, read on after the jump.


SWA Group Illustrates Auto Emissions

CRA Doesn't Have a Guerrilla Park

Meter "Fed" in Little Tokyo

Park(ing) Day Prep on Winston

A Tiny Block, but a Multitude of Uses During Park(ing) Day

Guerrilla Parking Day Site Gets Un-Terminated

Guerrilla Parking Day Site Gets Terminated


Where Do the Children Play?

Parks, Parks, Everywhere!

Park[ing] Day LA: 6th & Grand, Downtown

Don't Forget to Check Out Park[ing] Day Tomorrow

Bottleneck Blog:

National Parking Day Roundup

Johnny Law cracks down on parking day

National Park(ing) Day gets a foothold in downtown L.A.

Militant Angeleno:

Park(ing) Day MA

Sustainability Committee of Downtown LA:

Park[ing] Day LA 2008 Block Party


Reader Rant: (PARK)ing Day Ignored in the Valley

A Day No Cars Would Park: More (PARK)ing Scenes

Qualified Condition:

Park[ing] Day Los Angeles

Fade in LA:

Park(ing) Day LA

RIF Los Angeles:

Parking Day DownTown LA.


Hankook Park(ing) Day LA


park(ing) day la movement lushes up downtown

Lillie in the City:

park[ing] day

If I'm missing anything, please put a link in the comment section and we'll make sure it gets included in the list.

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