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Parking Day aims to highlight streets of Saskatoon
Published Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:01AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, August 16, 2012 3:00PM CST
Finding a parking spot in certain areas of Saskatoon will be difficult come September 21. That’s the global event known as Parking Day.
A local group will be bagging parking meters in Riversdale and on Broadway Avenue for the event. Instead of parked cars in parking spots, residents put up landscaping, sitting areas, art, or anything that can be dreamed up.
A Saskatoon organizer, Mike Velonas, says Parking Day is meant to be a fun experience for everyone. “Parking Day traditionally is about citizens or advocates for urban space taking over a parking stall for an afternoon or for a day and doing something sort of silly or whimsical just to highlight the idea that our streets are positive public space that can be used for more than just transportation."
A recent claim linking the event to the Occupy protest movement has prompted parking day organizers to set things straight. Carrie Catherine, a Parking Day organizer, says the day is a celebration and in no way a protest against anything.
“We're obtaining all of the approvals and permissions that we need to conduct the event and it’s very much in line with what the city is doing and wants to be doing in terms of urban planning. So we see this as an opportunity to demonstrate some ideas that are circulating around City Hall.”
The parking day team says the event tends to attract a lot of people to the area which is great for local business. They even plan to add retail along the strips.
“In the vacant storefronts that we have along 20th street, we're going to have some pop-up retail stores. Some local clothing designers will be selling their wares. And in other cities, these parking stall 'parklets' as they're called have become permanent installations,” says Velonas.
According to the global Parking Day website, the project first took place in 2005 in San Francisco. Over the years, the model has been adjusted to suit the different communities' needs and the amount of traffic flow.
“We're taking tips from people who have done it before about how to create safe stalls, we're asking the city to close some lanes of traffic to create safe bike lanes for the day, so safety has been on our minds since the beginning and we're working with the city to make sure that everyone who participates is just having a good time,” says Catherine.
Details are still being worked out with the city on how many parking stalls will be out of service during the event. Organizers say anyone can get involved or take over a parking spot for the day. You just need some positive creativity and an open mind.