In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution. The strategies and values that generate these conditions are no longer sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant urban human habitat.
It’s time to rethink the way streets are used and to re-imagine the possibilities of the urban landscape! A metered parking spot is an inexpensive short-term lease for a plot of precious urban real estate. What is the range of possibilities for creativity in a space usually dedicated to the storage of a private vehicle?
Motivated by the desire to activate the metered parking space as a site for creative experimentation, political and cultural expression and unscripted social interaction, Rebar offers PARK(ing) Day as a prototype for open-source urban design, accessible to all.
In response, thousands of people around the globe—working independently of Rebar but guided by a common set of core principles—have created hundreds of “PARK” installations or “parklets” and formed an annual international event.
Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape, and realize that converting small segments of the automobile infrastructure—even temporarily—can alter the character of the city.
From public parks to free health clinics, from art galleries to demonstration gardens, PARK(ing) Day participants have claimed the metered parking space as a rich new territory for creative experimentation and activism.
The event continues to expand virally, over the Internet and by word of mouth. Since its inception in 2005, PARK(ing) Day has blossomed into a global experiment in remixing, reclaiming and reprogramming More than 70% of most cities’ outdoor urban space is dedicated to the private vehicle, while only a fraction of that land is allocated to open space for people. — Rebar Group
PARK(ing) Day Dallas was started in 2011 as a grassroots movement to help shift the way our streets are perceived and utilized. Our mission is to create a temporary community space shared by businesses, visitors, residents and employees. Joining with dozens of cities across the world, members of our community will creatively transform the streets into livable, active spaces.
What will you do to make our city healthier, more comfortable, more creative and more successful? Here are a few ideas for your parklet. All of these activities have taken place in a parklet for PARK(ing) Day in the past.
One Parking Space, Unlimited Possibilities…
- wedding ceremony
- dog park
- free head & neck massages
- glass recycling center
- productive landscape
- swing park
- public park
- pedal powered smoothies
- solar panel demonstration
- DIY lemonade stand
- free worm composting demo
- ecology center
- free health care center
- art gallery
- outdoor classroom
- finger-painting studio
- public kiddie pool
- interactive sculpture
- free bicycle repair show
- memorial glen
- soccer field
- public safety demonstration
- croquet tournament
- open poetry reading
- lawn bowling course
- miniature golf course
- political campaign
- free public library
- dinner party
- public pool
- pirates’ cove
Building your PARK
Here are some guidelines and things to consider for the transformation of your space into a PARK. The fundamental elements of a good outdoor public space are seating, shade, a place to watch people and view scenery, and a sense of relaxation.
1. Location of your PARK
The PARK(ing) Day Dallas team has mapped out focus areas for this year’s event. Our areas of activity will be focused around:
Main Street District: Main Street between St Paul and Field
After teams register at www.parkingdaydallas.org, the planning group will notify participants of their spaces. Planners have taken into consideration the surrounding traffic, pedestrian visibility and indicated time of a team’s active PARK. Once teams are notified of their spaces, they will be able to take into consideration any environmental conditions that will affect the installation. Participants are welcome to create their own PARK outside of these focus areas but will be responsible for all permitting and logistics (unless otherwise notified).
2. Meter hooding
Community Sponsor Downtown Dallas, Inc. has obtained on-street metered parking for our focus areas with a City of Dallas Special Events Permit. These special spaces will be hooded for the entire day, so there’s no need to “pay the meter.” Each hooded meter will feature a sign indicating the team occupying the space.
3. Dimensions of spaces
Typical metered parking spaces in Dallas are 9 feet deep and 18 feet long. Designing your space to these dimensions should ensure good coverage for the transformation. Some spaces include extra curved turn-outs that can be incorporated to the space if present. Multiple spaces may be combined to create longer installations. Plan your PARK to be modular for a variety of spaces.
Your PARK installation MUST include a defined edge separating your space from traffic travel lanes. Plastic bollards (or cones) linked with rope, potted plants, or any self-supporting boundary is important to provide a sense of enclosure and safety for visitors to your PARK. These enclosures must be contained within the 9×18 dimension of the space.
Groundcover transforms the hard asphalt into a more comfortable space. Groundcover can be made of wood, blankets, quilts, carpets, or artificial turf. If using any organic material (sand, gravel, grass, mulch, etc), first line the space with a tarp/ plastic for easy removal. We encourage materials that can be recycled or donated to organizations or charities; sod dies quickly and may not be the most creative choice.
Shade will make your space much more enjoyable during the day. Living plants and trees can provide shade for people in the space. Other options include umbrellas, flags, sails or large pieces of fabric. Self-supported shade structures are allowed but must be secured against wind with a heavy base and cannot extend into the sidewalk or street lanes.
7. Electricity and water
Due to the nature of the space, do not expect to have accessible water or electricity nearby. Some spaces are adjacent to tree outlets, but even this does not mean power is turned on. If you must have water or electricity, consider working with a neighboring business to use their utilities for the day. Our main performance areas have power for audio equipment, and you may be able to connect to these.
The more seating you provide, the more visitors your PARK may attract. Good used park benches can be borrowed, obtained on the Internet or rented from a film/ theatre prop rental shop. Or, construct your own seating from creative materials.
Pre-packaged food is appropriate for distribution during the event, but preparation of food within the space is prohibited unless you obtain a permit from the City of Dallas (see contact information at the end of this handbook). Consider seating areas in your PARK to attract lunchtime visitors. Alcohol is prohibited within the space (and surrounding sidewalk/street) according to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations.
10. Building materials
Any type of building material is allowed inside of the defined space, but no items can project into lanes of traffic or obstruct the sidewalk. Consider sustainable building materials for your space. Building materials can be recycled or reused; blankets can be donated to homeless shelters. Note: portable gasoline generators should not be used, and no guarantee can be made for a nearby power source.
A full lineup of entertainment will be provided and limited to performance areas only. The performance areas typically consist of two adjoining parking spaces and includes a small platform or stage area. Performance areas are peppered throughout the event. We are always looking for volunteers/sponsors to design our main performance “stages.” If you wish to perform during PARK(ing) Day Dallas contact [email protected] for consideration.
Any PARK(ing) Day Participant may place its brand, logo or other promotional imagery on signage associated with its PARK(ing) Day Installation. Signage is limited to two (2) posters, no larger than 11×17 inches in size, that serve the sole purpose of acknowledging the creators, funders or organizers of the PARK(ing) Day Installation. The Signage may not contain specific offers for goods or services, or offer specific promotions, discounts, or coupons, whether related to PARK(ing) Day or not. A sign with your group/organization’s name will also be placed on your meter hood.
13. Commercial uses
PARK(ing) Day is a non-commercial event. No PARK(ing) Day Participant may use its PARK(ing) Day Installation to make specific offers for goods or services, or to offer specific promotions, discounts, or coupons, whether related to PARK(ing) Day or not. More information can be found at www.parkingday.org.
During the event
1. Planning the event
Plan for who may visit your PARK during the event:
• Curious bystanders
• Downtown residents
• Potential participants for the next PARK(ing) Day
• Downtown employees and tourists
• People wondering why you’re taking up a perfectly serviceable parking spot
2. Setting up
Most PARKs will be active during the entire day on Friday, September 16th with a goal to have people in the spaces from 9:00am–6:00pm targeting both downtown employees and downtown residents.
• Each group’s set up time will be indicated in the planning document. Please follow this schedule to allow all groups easy access. The streets will remain open to traffic during the event; setting up your PARK should not block or interfere with any traffic lanes.
• Verify you are in the correct space by looking at the sign on the hooded meter (with group name and meter number)
• Parking: Groups needing a place to park should use Tower Garage (1511 Elm Street); there is a daily rate of $4.00 (no re-entry). This garage is convenient to both activity areas and the after-party.
3. During the event
During the event many visitors will be curious about PARK(ing) Day and surrounding activities. Be sure to photograph and document your PARK’s transformation.
• Explaining Park(ing) Day: You are part of a worldwide movement to improve the quality of the public realm and reclaim the streets for people. Your PARK is also a unique expression of your own ideas, creativity and identity. Think ahead to how you will easily explain what’s happening to curious, skeptical or appreciative audiences you’ll encounter out there.
• Social media: Share your experiences on our social media channels. Post photos to our Facebook page and Twitter; encourage your visitors to do the same. Be sure to tag your pics #ParkingDayDallas
• Media coverage:
Members of local media may visit your space to learn more about PARK(ing) Day. Share your experiences, and direct them to Pegasus Plaza (Main & Akard) if they have additional questions for organizers.
4. After the event
Leave No Trace! Be prepared to completely, totally, utterly leave the streetscape in a better condition than you found it. Bring a broom, dustpan, trashbags and a good pair of gloves. Sweep like this is your property, because it is.
• Be sure to check www.parkingdaydallas.org for any updates as PARK(ing) Day Dallas approaches.
• To follow the global PARK(ing) Day event, visit www.parkingday.org
• For questions, comments, or suggestions email [email protected]
During PARK(ing) Day Dallas
Clean Team and Safety Patrol: 214-741-1151 | Main Office: 214-744-1270
For individual requests / permits separate from PARK(ing) Day Dallas: City of Dallas Special Event Permitting (Office of Special Events): www.dallasspecialevents.com | Phone: 214-939-2701 City of Dallas Health Permits (Environmental & Health Services): 214-670-8083
About PARK(ing) Day:
PARK(ing) Day began in 2005 and is an open-source Rebar invention created by hundreds of independent individuals and groups worldwide. Founded in 2004, Rebar is an art and design collective based in San Francisco.