PARK(ing) Day Portland: Turning a parking space to public space
The scene on Preble Street, where the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has chairs, a pseudo lawn, and a human-powered blender. Karen Beaudoin photo
Ride the bike, make a smoothie. Karen Beaudoin photo
Sit, and feel like you're riding a bike. Kinda. Karen Beaudoin photo
On Cumberland Ave, the folks at Hurley Travel Experts have created an in-town oasis. Pictured: Pat Wilcock, Beth Skypeck, and Brenda Cadman. Shannon Bryan photo
Take time to Jenga or plan your next getaway. Shannon Bryan photo
The VIA Agency Park on Congress boats a comfortable bench and typewriters, so you can write something amazing, and then sit and think about it. Pictured: Stephen Brownell Davis. Shannon Bryan photo
Suzanne LaGasa and David Merrill, of VIA, enjoy the bench and some morning conversation. Shannon Bryan photo
Also: Art easels! Shannon Bryan photo
The Art Department has taken over a space on Congress and is doing art demos and 30-second portraits, among other things. Shannon Bryan photo
Amanda Clark readies a sign for the day. Shannon Bryan photo
Shawn Brewer gets chalky. Shannon Bryan photo
Mini parks are great for all people - even very, very small ones. Architect Michael Belleau invited these guys to hang out in his space on Pleasant Street. Shannon Bryan photo
Architect Michael Belleau enjoying the space he's created, which he's calling "a piazza." Shannon Bryan photo
Brooke Burkett of Portland Gear Hub, left, and Meredith Anderson of Nomads, right, kick back in their space on Commercial Street. Local Dewey Noland puts the Adirondack chairs to good use. Shannon Bryan photo
The Portland Gear Hub/Nomad space is asking passersby to fill in the blank. "When I play outside_______." Shannon Bryan photo
Shannon Bryan photo
19 Oaks has plenty of sunshine at their spot just off Commercial Street. Pictured: Shay Bellas, Jeff Ryam Nia Bellas, Georgia Barnes, and Alexis Bellas. Shannon Bryan photo
Fill yer water bottle. Shannon Bryan photo
Free cookies (if there are any left!) Shannon Bryan photo
Nia Bellas enjoys the rays - and flowers. Shannon Bryan photo
Some parking spaces around Portland don’t have cars in them today. They have parks. Small parks, sure, but parks nevertheless. It’s PARK(ing) Day, and several local businesses are celebrating. The event is “an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks.” Some are giving away cookies, some are encouraging passersby to draw, talk, or ride a smoothie-making bicycle. And they’re all hoping you’ll take a minute to consider the perks of open spaces.
What is PARK(ing) Day?
Businesses, designers, artists, architects, and citizens turn metered parking spaces into temporary public parks for the day. Customers can relax, members of the public can mingle, and people walking by can say “huh?” The hope is that these temporary park installations will foster conversation among citizens about our interactions with and access to public open space in the city, and the amount of publicly-owned space occupied by cars that could perhaps be used for something else. We will put a map online, so that during their lunch hour (or at other times during the day), residents and tourists can visit the various “parks” in town, chat with the creators, visit the businesses that have sponsored the “parks,” and have enlightening discussions with other park users.
FMI: PARK(ing) Day Portland on Facebook
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// About the Author
mainetoday.com content producer Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.
Since she arrived in Maine from the Midwest seven years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.
They live in a home full of art with a cat named Waffles and boy named Fletcher. Meet artists Linda and John.