Parking may be a little tighter than usual this Friday — Philly is celebrating its second annual PARK(ing) Day, a nationwide event where people legally transform metered parking spaces into a series of temporary, 300-square-foot parks.
The point is to illustrate that cars take up too much space, which participants believe should be reallocated to parks, bike lanes and gardens. According to Greenworks Philadelphia, the city's new sustainability plan, fewer than 60 percent of Philadelphians live within walking distance of a park or recreation center — and with the drastic budget cuts looming, it's likely to get worse.
Last year's lofty park designs featured space for live music, a small bocce court and a bike-powered projector, but this year's participants are focused on simply making people comfortable. The Community Design Collaborative is crafting a bench out of 5-gallon drywall buckets and reclaimed lumber, and Design Within Reach is placing dining tables and chairs onto their parking space.
"Everyone stops and they're thinking, 'What am I supposed to be doing in this space?'" says volunteer Kristen Mattioni. "And I think that's the point of this event — to take a space that is not usually occupied by pedestrians, and offer it back to them."