Safe Streets

Making Our Streets Better, One Parking Space at a Time

A collage of images from Parking Day showing musicians performing, children playing and reading, and people gathering in parking spaces converted to activity centers.

This year, Spin celebrated Park(ing) Day -- the one day every year where people around the world repurpose streets parking into parks and places for art, play, and activism -- by granting 29 organizations around the world $1,000 each to transform a parking space in their communities into a place for people.

We also created our own Park(ing) Day installations in Seattle, Barcelona, and Atlanta to join in the fun and the movement to make our streets safer, operable for two-wheeled mobility and more livable for people. Our Atlanta installation got a major boost ​thanks to 3M, which provided channelizers and high-visibility ground markings. These channelizers provide both a visual distinction and a physical barrier between bike lanes and vehicle lanes, while their high-visibility ground markings can help reduce conflict points at intersections. 




Take a look at some of the amazing installations that came out of this year’s Park(ing) Day celebration. We are proud to have worked with Better Block Foundation to fund and facilitate the creative work these organizations are doing to make their streets better for all people.

Sustain Charlotte
teamed up with children’s literacy nonprofit Promising Pages to create a “book oasis for children,” replacing a parking spot with a pop-up children’s library in a part of the city where access to books is limited.

“We are right smack in the book desert of Charlotte, North Carolina,” said Taylor Houston, program director for Promising Pages. “We’re here to turn it into an oasis where children can receive books. So, we will be giving out free children’s books as well as books for all ages.”

In Eugene, Oregon, the local NPR affiliate, KLCC, picked up the story of Spin grantees Better Eugene/Springfield Transportation (BEST) and Palace Coffee and Bakery.

“I’ve wanted to make something different out of our street parking and wanted to make more of a community lively vibe out there, which just looking out the window they’ve been very successful in achieving that,” Lisa Truelove, who owns Palace, told KLCC. “Opening it up and kind of commingling that space a little bit more, is something that I would like to see happen on this street … I don’t think the street is really all that friendly for sitting and relaxing outside.”

To the north, in Portland, Oregon, students from Portland State University (PSU) set up a parklet on Foster -- a particularly busy thoroughfare -- where residents were invited to communicate ideas about how they would like to see their community improved.

“We’ve gotta start chipping away at this car infrastructure,” said one resident sitting at the parklet while cars whizzed by loudly in the background.

Ryan, a planning student at PSU, said he got involved in Park(ing) Day because “we waste a lot of really valuable space on storing cars and I think it’s fun to show what else could be done with that space.”

On the other side of the country in Oneida, New York, the nonprofit Oneida Improvement Committee (OIC) celebrated “Barking Day” with a pop-up dog park. OIC Vice President Michele Farwell told The Oneida Daily Dispatch that dog parks benefit not only the dogs, but their owners, too by creating a safe space for co-mingling of like-minded residents who love their dogs and are looking for a place to play. She added that some residents support the park in part because they don’t  have access to a fenced-in yard themselves.

The Downtown Springdale Alliance in Springdale, Arkansas set up a Monarch butterfly migration station, educating passers-by about the endangered insect and the vital role it plays in our ecosystem.

Tallahassee, Florida’s Providence Neighborhood Association repurposed a whole parking lot for community use. “When you win a grant it feels great because someone is trusting you to build something out of thin air. It takes many people to do that. The bonus of a grant is that people are willing to add a little something more by putting in matching money and time to create an event larger than you ever thought possible. It is magical," the Association wrote on its Facebook page:

The Milwaukee Avenue Alliance held an exciting block party that showcased art and local businesses. Streetsblog Chicago tweeted some pictures. And Alderperson Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who represents the neighborhood, was there:

The Providence Streets Coalition used the occasion to support local artists by showcasing their work in their parklet, which they described as “a park / youth gallery / outdoor cafe / community engagement station.” Check out their pictures here:

The Street Trust set up free coffee, games, valet bike parking and seating in their parklet. Check out their set up:

"Today was incredible ! Students creating a space for people where metal boxes normally sit. Park(ing) Day” wrote Lina Bondarenko, artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, on Instagram. Bondarenko applied for the Park(ing) Day grant and celebrated in style with students. Bondarenko created an album here with many more photos.

Betterblock SGF set out to make a point with their installation, which they set up in a massive, empty mall parking lot. The idea was to demonstrate how “uncomfortable and out of scale the obscene amount of excess parking space is” in their community. Their installation was dwarfed by the surrounding parking lot.

Looking Upwards, Inc. set up a collaborative art space with an oversized loom where passers-by could work together to weave a tapestry out of various upcycled materials.

A group of landscape architects transformed 182nd Street into a colorful, engaging and fun green play plaza to promote community and environmental wellness.

We are so thrilled at the success of our Park(ing) Day grant initiative. It is truly inspiring to see so many creative ideas. We can’t wait to celebrate again next year.

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