After fearing that Buffalo might not pull off PARK(ing) Day in 2017, Joy Kuebler, Daniel Seiders, Crystal Surdyk and a couple of their colleagues managed to save the day. The two helped to convert a couple of parking spaces in front of EXPO! Market into a pop up micro park, complete with a working fountain.
“PARK(ing) Day as a strategy has been about disrupting the norm,” said Kuebler. “I think where we are today for PARK(ing) Day and why we chose this location on Main Street in front of CEPA and Expo is to move the conversation to ‘What’s Next?’. Cars on Main Street, multi-modal transportation, housing downtown, life back on the sidewalk. Today is all about how we see landscape architecture contributing to our streets being EVEN MORE complete for Buffalo and for communities everywhere!”
Not only did this temporary park have a working fountain, and places for people to hang out, the orchestrators also came up with a “Lucky Duck challenge ” to get people to interact with the space.
In order to comply with the parking ordinance, the organizers even paid for the parking spots (see receipts above). That means that The City didn’t lose out on any of its money that it would have made if there were cars parked in the spots. It’s always best to be safe, than sorry.
Cities are for everyone. Not only is our PARK(ing) Day intervention advocating for a better balance between vehicle infrastructure and livable neighborhoods but we also want to advocate for the value in designing for every stage of life. Buffalo has some of the world’s greatest parks but there’s a lack of accessibility to those parks for many residents and specifically children in the surrounding neighborhoods of our city center. We believe that everyone, everywhere should be able to swing, slide, run and play no matter how urban the environment in which they live.
Once again, we are seeing urbanism at its finest, with people enjoying places that are typically reserved for cars. A few weeks ago, I posted that Hamilton, Ontario had made significant progress by converting parking spaces into patios permanently (see here). Unfortunately, the idea is too much Buffalo’s own City Hall – apparently city officials can’t wrap their minds around this relatively simple humanist concept, so they stamp a big red “DENIED” on the idea when developer Rocco Termini approached them with the idea.
I’m so happy to see this gang implementing such a great pop-up PARK(ing) Day experience in downtown Buffalo. Hopefully more people get into the action next year. Way to keep the concept alive gang!