From the Bel Air Downtown Alliance:
On September 21, in cities around the globe, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called “PARK(ing) Day”.
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 planning strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Dayis about re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape.”
Craig Ward, President/CEO of Frederick Ward Associates (www.frederickward.com) and Past President of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance (www.downtownbelair.com), is organizing Downtown Bel Air’s PARK(ing) Day. On Friday, September 21st,8am-2pm, a series of parking spaces on Main Street – between Office Street and Pennsylvania Avenue – will be blocked off and occupied by Frederick Ward Associates, Freedom Federal Credit Union (www.freedomfcu.org), Edmeades & Stromdahl (www.eslarch.com),and CTSi (www.goctsi.com). Each business will create a themed “PARK” in their assigned parking space. The event will coincide with the Lunchtime Concerts, co-hosted by the Town of Bel Air and the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, on Office Street, 12-1pm.
“When Craig brought this idea forward, we were very excited. It is such a unique and fun way to draw attention to an important issue every city and town faces, no matter their size,”reported Scott T. Walker, Executive Director of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance. Mr. Walker added,“Sustainability is an important issue, to us, the Town of Bel Air, Harford County, the State of Maryland, and to the 28 other Maryland Main Street communities. Anything we can do in our community to promote the importance and immediacy of sustainability, we’regoing to do it. Hopefully this will be a launching point for us to develop additional activities and conversations about sustainability in our community.”
Since2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2011 included 975 “PARK” installations in more than 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe.
PARK(ing) Day is an “open-source” user-generated invention created 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. More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities can be found at www.downtownbelair.com and a global map of all participating cities is available on the PARK(ing) Day website, at www.parkingday.org.