Elected Officials

Promote Park(ing) Day

Popularized by the San Francisco–based design group, Rebar, Park(ing) Day is an annual event on the third Friday of September during which activists and community groups legally take over a curbside parking spot and reinvent the space for pedestrian purposes. Groups have created public parks, public reading rooms, curbside cafes, bocci courts, and mini beaches within parking spots. By 2011, 35 countries have hosted nearly 1,000 Park(ing) Day events.

Guidance
  • The goal of Park(ing) Day is to experiment with new forms of public space. Avoid exploiting the premise with commercial or promotional activities
  • Consider your audience when choosing a location: If creating a park, consider a spot in an area underserved by public parks; if advocating for a public-policy change, choose a spot near that public agency
  • Provide seating and shade
  • Install a ground cover for better visual impact
  • Set up plastic bollards or cones to buffer your space from cars
  • Prepare to pay: Scope out the payment system of your parking spot, and have quarters or a credit card handy
  • Create a team of collaborators to share planning, transportation, and implementation responsibilities
  • Install signs to inform the public about Park(ing) Day and your event
  • Research local parking laws and publicspace ordinances to address any concerns of residents or police officers
  • Promote your event: Alert the media, post information on community listserves and blogs, and post wayfinding signs
  • Prepare talking points about the goals of your Park(ing) Day event
  • Document the event with photos and/or video
  • Recycle project materials wherever possible
  • Clean up your park(ing) spot thoroughly afterward to avoid fines or tickets
Benefits
  • Temporarily transforms storage space for a private vehicle into dynamic, pedestrianoriented public space
  • Activates the streetscapes
  • Sparks public debate about the use of public rights-of-way
  • Encourages community-driven streetscape improvements to better accommodate all street users, not just cars
  • Provides a fun opportunity for encouraging pedestrian advocacy
Considerations
  • Local regulations may not permit curbside parking uses other than parking
  • Allotting time and funding for permits
  • Ensuring adequate litter and trash removal
  • Potential pushback from local businesses due to loss of parking
Where to Use It
  • Curbside locations with regulated parking for two or more hours
Professional Consensus
  • In the absence of endorsements from national associations or governmental departments, cities are turning to best practices employed by other municipalities
Examples

In 2011 alone, community groups implemented 965 Park(ing) Day events in 162 cities and 35 countries, including:

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.