Park(ing) Day in Buffalo has proved to be a tremendous success. It appeared as if every commercial district in the city was the recipient of pop-up park/patio instead of a parking space. Businesses such as Café Taza in Allentown, West Side Stories and Pubic Coffee and Espresso and Sweet_ness 7 on Grant Street, and S7 Café on Parkside, all contributed to the common goal of showing how much more productive public place making is (over parking).
In fact, all of the business owners that I talked to felt that the exercise contributed greatly to the upbeat vibe of the neighborhood by bringing people together outside at places where they normally don’t socialize.
The makeshift patios, some of which featured real sod and grass, tile flooring and whimsical accessories, delighted passersby as they stopped, took photos, sat down and relaxed, and expressed their enthusiasm for the effort. “Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect reached out to me to ask if they could work with the parking space in front of S7 on Parkside,” said coffee house operator Prish Moran. “You should see what they did. They laid down real sod and grass, added a working fountain, and created a miniature “park” inspired by an aquatic theme.”
Park(ing) Day (see back story) helps to show us all how we can rethink the simplest things that we take for granted in our communities. In other cities, business owners have actually taken back some of their street parking spaces permanently to create mini parks and patios that contribute a heck of a lot more to the bottom line than a single parking space. It was great to see the rocking horse brought out to play at West Side Stories, and the “continental” tables at Public. It was also nice to see all of the neighbors, young and old, from different ethnicities, stopping by to sample free coffees and chat with the owners about new developments in Buffalo.
I was sorry that I did not get a chance to get around to all of the Park(ing) Day additions. The ones that I did come across were inspirational and added a completely different perspective to their respective neighborhoods. Good job everyone!
Update from Rachacha:
The installation at ECHDC is by Maggie Hamilton of CBRE, with assistance from UB Architecture and Planning’s new Professor of Landscape Architecture, Sean Burkholder (lying down). Lots of folks were stopping by, including employees of City of Buffalo, BURA, ECHDC, and Savarino.
The installation on Delaware is by Dana Saylor of ELAB. She brought out an entire planning and architecture library, and encouraged people to write on the cardboard what they wanted for better streets in the city.