The Art of Parking

Having the “Sunbathing Lady of the Lot” suddenly appear in our parking lot opened my mind to parking art. It also led me down a path of path of parking art that has included Knotty Knitters crafting cozies for meter poles and bike racks, a yearlong partnership with students at nearby Lane Community College to design and fabricate custom bike racks, a North American art competition on the wall of a parking garage that’s run for three years now, poetry installed in the stairway of a parking garage, a poem on the epark Eugene iPhone app, digital art on top of parking garages, and a street artist competition on concrete parking bollards.

We in Eugene have enjoyed a breadcrumb approach to incorporating art into our parking program. It started with the city’s Public Art Plan goal to “incorporate art into everyday objects.” It continued by inserting the word “parking” into this goal and working to “incorporate art into everyday parking objects.”

My first exposure to parking art was an overnight installation by the 12th Avenue Collaborative group that placed a parking space-sized, bikini-clad lady in our lot. I had a choice: trash it or let it stay. The artists made the decision easy by paying for all the parking spaces they used, and the lady attracted a lot of downtown visitors and positive attention, which is great news for any parking program.

Recently, at the Pacific Intermountain Parking & Transportation Association (PITPA) Conference and Tradeshow, keynote speaker Darin Watkins, of Washington State University, asked the audience, “How many of you can say you had three positive media stories  about your program in the last year?” I was able to raise my hand because we have invested in local partnerships that bring creativity to our parking system. This idea, however, is not unique. It could be implemented anywhere. All it takes is a parking professional willing to ask the question. Are you that person?

About Jeff Petry

Jeff Petry manages the City of Eugene’s on-street and off-street parking system. He serves on the IPI Advisory Council and the Sustainability Committee.

Comments

  1. Wanda Brown says:

    This is a great idea as the Health System is big on what they deem “healing art”. We are currently exploring this option as we blog. Since Parking is the first point of contact in a hospital setting, provding soothing art to view while parking can be healing if not a catalyst to bring calm and peace to the mind while dealing with health-related issues.

  2. phillip says:

    Very interesting.. and a great idea!

  3. Hi Jeff, you may be intersted in this stufff I have found over the years.

    http://parkingithere.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/parking-art.html

    Cheers

    Kevin

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