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Is Park(ing) Day Still a Thing?

9:50 AM PDT on September 14, 2017

A parklet on Grand Avenue in Oakland the expanded seating area for a coffee shop, and created a place for people to gather. Photo by Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

Park(ing) Day, originally created in 2005 by the San Francisco design group ReBar as a fun way to reclaim space set aside to store cars, quickly burgeoned into a national movement. It led to the creation of temporary and permanent "parklets" on city streets. These mini-parks were initially meant to be public spaces for people to gather, although just as frequently they've become outdoor patios for nearby restaurants--still arguably a higher and better use serving more people than storage for a private car.

The event has expanded, and contracted, in the ensuing years. Is this because the parklet has become institutionalized? The phenomenon is almost old hat now, but in the early days it caused a ruckus. At one early Park(ing) Day in Berkeley, police threatened to ticket people who used fake grass to make a park outside a busy local restaurant, even though the park makers paid the meter for their two hours' use of the space. Today, that spot is a large and popular parklet.

ReBar is no longer involved in the annual event, although it keeps renewing its website domain, making the site a nearly useless place to find out where Park(ing) Day events are happening. SBCA is aware of some scattered events around California--San Francisco, Santa Monica, L.A., Oakland, San Diego, and Sacramento (which is holding its event on Saturday, rather than on a weekday like the rest of the cities). Stockton will hold its first Park(ing) Day ever this year.

Are there other places that are participating in Park(ing) Day in California? Take some pictures of your local event and submit them to SBCA. Look for SBCA's 2017 Park(ing) Day round up coming soon.

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