Park(ing) Goes Trendy

Do you have a 2014 IKEA catalog on your kitchen counter (or in your recycling bin)? Does the photo on p. 30 look familiar? If it does image001-1(it’s the one you see in this post), you’re probably familiar with Park(ing) Day, which is a worldwide event that encourages the temporary transformation of parking spaces into gathering places.

IKEA took it one step farther, posting this video illustrating their parking space transformation on their website. And as you probably know, Park(ing) Day and the parklet concept (turning parking spaces into gathering places on a more permanent basis) have caught the eye of the mainstream media and the public.

It’s also been embraced by parking professionals, who see it as a great public relations activity and way to reach out to their customers via something more positive than gate tickets and citations. For one day a year, they allow community residents and business owners to take over parking spaces, either by feeding the meter as they would to park or by applying for special permits, to construct everything from small parks to cafes to mini-golf courses to art exhibitions, all in the name of social interaction in the downtown area.

Park(ing) Day 2013 will happen on Sept. 20, and organizers say they expect record numbers of cities, towns, campuses, and community organizations to participate. Whether you like the idea or not, are you ready? You can read more about it in the August issue of The Parking Professional, which offers the perspective of parking professionals in several cities that have embraced it as a celebration, along with other thoughts from those on our Ask the Experts panel. And you can see it in this year’s IKEA catalog and on their website, which strikes me as something of a milestone: the parking spot as trendy attribute.

What do you think about Park(ing) Day? Will you participate this year (visit parkingday.org to register)? Let us know in the comments.

 

About Kim Fernandez

Kim Fernandez is editor of The Parking Professional magazine.

Comments

  1. Paul Wessel says:

    As the former director of a municipal on-street parking program and current executive director of the Green Parking Council, I love the idea and the practice of Park(ing) Day. It engages people who don’t normally think about parking to look at as an opportunity. What do we do with the public and private spaces we reserve for parking? Are there multiple uses? How do we value them? How do we price them? Do we have too many or too few? How do we balance off-street and on-street parking? How do we manage it? And, last but not least, how do we have fun with it?

    I’ve wanted to figure out how we could integrate Park(ing) Day into parking lots and garages. Would love to hear if anyone’s doing that, or your ideas for how we might do it.

    Thanks, Kim. Great find.

  2. Louis Farnsworth says:

    Kim,
    Great post! I just went ahead and signed up for 2013!. Your blogs are always fun to read – Thanks for making parking fun!

  3. We participated last year in Philadelphia. Even though most people would say they hate parking enforcement, we know that it’s a necessity to keep our city moving, so we dedicated our booth to parking officers. They work hard and suffer through bad weather and angry patrons. We had a great time showing passers by our parking enforcement solution, seeing what other folks did to their spots and getting a real look into people’s thoughts on parking in general. You can see pics from the day here. http://www.upsafety.net/news.htm

    At Paul, having a parking day in a garage would be wonderful! You should definitely do that!

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