I was pretty sure that New York City had San Francisco beat for this year’s Park(ing) Day, what, with the children’s reading hour and the on-street gymnasium in Brooklyn; Staten Island and Queens getting in on the act; and German tourists frolicking on the sod in front of the MoMA (all captured by StreetFilms, of course). Then I saw photos of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome admiring Rebar Group’s Parkcycle — literally, a pedal-powered park on wheels — and I realized that we had been foiled again. Back to the drawing board New York City Park(ing) fans. We’ve got 12 months to come up with something better than this…
Honorable mention this year goes to Los Angeles. The hometown of international parking guru Donald Shoup put together quite a Park(ing) Day with somewhere around 35 spots set up all over the city. You can download their map, read about it in the Los Angeles Times and look at photos on Flickr.
Finally, a Streetsblog tipster points us to some Park(ing) criticism from an unexpected source. Over at ESPN.com we get an inside-the-beltway, baby-boomerish perspective on Park(ing) Day from Gregg Easterbrook, a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly and New Republic, and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Perhaps unaware of real-world experience in places like Copenhagen, Paris and London, where traffic congestion has been reduced and quality of life improved by transforming on-street parking space into express bus lanes, bike paths, public plazas and even playgrounds, Easterbrook writes, "However on-street parking is priced, the core of the problem is the
need to build more parking spaces and parking garages." Without providing much in the way of facts, data or best practices from other cities to back up his argument, he continues:
The idea that
parking "only encourages more cars" is fallacious in the same way it’s
fallacious to argue that building roads only encourages cars. More cars
are coming in any case: the questions are whether they will have places
to park, and whether traffic will get a lot worse or only somewhat
worse. Traffic jams and parking hassles are leading causes of modern
stress. Stress is bad for us; thoughtful government planning should
seek to make people’s lives less stressful; this means more roads and a
lot more parking spaces should be built. Roughly 2 percent of the
global GDP is dedicated to parking costs. That’s not enough!
Photo: Squash on Flickr