Park benches instead of oil stains. Potted plants instead of tire tracks.
For one day each year for the past 10 years, West Palm Beach has celebrated Park(ing) Day, where the city and its Downtown Development Authority work with downtown businesses to turn parking spots into mini-parks.
This year’s Park(ing) Day was held last Friday and hosted by Palm Beach Tech Association.
The first Park(ing) Day was in San Francisco in 2005. The idea quickly caught on as artists, urban planners and activists saw the opportunity to demonstrate how cities can rethink their public spaces.
In 2006, West Palm’s first Park(ing) Day featured sod-lined parking spots where residents and downtown workers could meet to have coffee and talk about their city.
Since, the city’s event has evolved to include art demonstrations — this year, artist Anthony Hernandez’s skills were on display.
In 2013, an idea born from Park(ing) Day was tested for six months in three spots around downtown: the parklet, a deck extending out from the sidewalk to cover a parking space and add seating area and walking space.
“Downtown is innovating itself into a modern city led by its advocates,” said Joe Russo, Palm Beach Tech executive director. “We need people to be part of this positive change in our community.”
Skybike’s Juan Orellana helped organizeand promote this year’s Park(ing) Day.
“I’m glad we can reclaim space usually taken by a parked car to enjoy our downtown with friends,” he said.