The idea of PARK(ing) Day is many things to many people. Some don’t see the point, and don’t understand why a parking spot should be transformed into a mini public park – why not just park there? Others feel that the pop-up park effort reflects the mindset of a generation of people who want to have a hand in changing the engrained attitudes of a society that has become complacent in mundane day to day routines.
This past Friday, an landscape architect and design team took over a block of parking spots at the Buffalo Medical Campus and set up a sizable park, where employees could catch a breather and relax. An oasis in the middle of a parking lot is probably the last thing that workers expected upon arrival to the campus on Friday. The response? Eyes lit up, smiles appeared on faces, and people event commented that the park should be permanent – “We could really use a space like this.”
“People came and went all day long and thanked us repeatedly for building our “playground” in their lot,” said Crystal Surdyk, representing Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect and Designing to Live Sustainably. “We had been warned that parking spots come at a premium at the BNMC and folks might not be happy with us taking up six of their coveted spaces. Besides one woman teasing us with a comment that she usually parks in one of the spots we had commandeered, not a single person complained about losing the parking spaces. Not many could escape the lure of the swing, and the overhead leaf design-shades provided relief from the sun while folks enjoyed their lunch.”
In the end, the people who enjoyed the park did not go home and sell their cars. But whenever they drive to work and see a mundane parking lot, they might stop to think about the whimsical setting that they encountered on PARK(ing) Day. That is the real intention of the event. To get people to stop and think about what’s important? What makes us happy? Is there life beyond a parking lot?
Of course if these types of efforts are amplified, then there are also a number of socio-economic and environmental benefits that ensue.