As someone who had to pay more than $20 to park a car for a day in downtown Baltimore, I walked to work. North Idaho, however, is at the exact opposite end of the parking spectrum with acres and acres of inexpensive parking.
In some instances, parking is located on extremely valuable land. Visitors come from around the country and around the world to enjoy the natural beauty of our area, but there’s a huge expanse of parking separating the City of Coeur d’Alene’s downtown core from its namesake Lake. At Independence Point, what would otherwise be a world-class gateway to the City, visitors are treated to yet another parking lot.
So this Friday in Coeur d’Alene, KEA is joining with artists, activists and citizens around the globe will temporarily transform parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called “PARK(ing) Day.” In a press release, the PARK(ing) Day founders describe it:
Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure. “In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution,” says Rebar’s Matthew Passmore. “The strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape.”
Since 2005, the PARK(ing) Day project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2009 included more than 700 installations in more than 140 cities in 21 countries on six continents. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe, including the first-ever PARK installation in Tehran, Iran. “Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape,” says Rebar’s John Bela. “PARK(ing) Day demonstrates that even temporary or interim spatial reprogramming can improve the character of the city.”
PARK(ing) Day is a grassroots, “open-source” invention built by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions.
We understand that Kootenai Environmental Alliance, and our fellow instigators around town, will be the only participants from Idaho in this year’s global event. Look for us on Friday, September 17. Better yet, come join use and help us re-imagine parking lot pavement in North Idaho.