Parking Spots to Become Parks (for a Day) - NBC Southern California

Parking Spots to Become Parks (for a Day)

Local organizations will create small green spaces in parking places, for a few hours only.

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    If it is the third Friday in September and you see a parking space full of lawn chairs, it must be PARK(ing) Day.

    What to Know

    • Friday, Sept. 20

    • Spots around the city

    • ASLA has more information on how to set up your own space

    You can't spell "parking" without "park," and yet the meanings of these two words are as far apart as two very distant things.

    Parking, of course, is what we do with our vehicles when we want to leave them for awhile. A park is a space devoted to nature, and recreation, and, it may be accurately said, the definite act of definitely not driving. (Relaxing and picnicking and swinging and teeter-tottering, yes, for sure.)

    But those two concepts will merge, as they do each year around this time, on Friday, Sept. 20.

    That's PARK(ing) Day, here in Los Angeles and beyond, and it involves a heaping helping of urban whimsy, performance art, and the chance to do something a little wacky on a weekday.

    And, of course, some deeper messaging about our commitment to green spaces, public places, and how our roads and cars impact our day-to-day lives.

    The upshot? Participants will take over metered parking spaces at various points around the city, but there won't be an automobile within that established, asphalt-based rectangle.

    Rather, fake grass may be placed on the pavement, and some lawn chairs, and perhaps a plastic flamingo or two. People and passersby will then enjoy the sunshiny environment in myriad ways, from holding conversations to reading books to enjoying a snack.

    If this sounds like a flash mob, it isn't quite that, though anyone is welcome to join in. And it has been around for some time, since 2005, which means it now pops up in dozens of cities on the third Friday in September.

    Local councils, like Mid-City West, will be out in a number of locations. Stop by the parking space in front of Toasted & Roasted on Melrose or LA Chankla on Wilshire Boulevard and "meet your neighbors," if you're nearby on the 20th.

    And the American Society of Landscape Architects is also in the swing of the offbeat celebration. They've even got tips if you want to set up your own little temporary parklet on Sept. 20.

    Reading everything if you choose to make your own here-today-gone-tomorrow parklet is a smart idea as is, of course, feeding your meter while you're occupying the parking space, even though you won't have a car.

    Show with quarters, is what we're saying, a sense of fun, and a larger vision about what it means to have social spaces and green nooks within the boundaries of a bustling metropolis.

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