Park(ing) Day continues inside the Urban Design Studio
Park(ing) Day continues inside the Urban Design Studio
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Park(ing) Day continues inside the Urban Design Studio
Park(ing) Day continues inside the Urban Design Studio

Well, Metro Louisville shut down today’s Park(ing) Day mini-park on Third Street, but the festivities aren’t ending! The park has been moved inside the Urban Design Studio at 507 South Third Street and you’re welcome to stop by any time today for a discussion on what is public space and the litigious nature of the society we live in that prevents such parks from daily occurrence. It’s not enough to “rent” the parking space by feeding the meter.

According to Metro Louisville Public Works, a permit for the Park(ing) Day project would require the approval of Fire, EMS, PARC, and Public Works with a traffic engineer signing off on a traffic plan. A three foot buffer would be required with barriers or reflective cones of some sort. The agency says they are foremost concerned with safety and the permitting process is designed to promote that.

Public Works director Ted Pullen wasn’t immediately available for comment but a spokesperson in his office said, “All it takes is one person texting and driving to kill someone at the event.”

While the safety precautions designed into the permitting process are supposed to keep people safe, Public Works admits that it doesn’t always work citing an example of a biking event a couple years ago that was permitted with heavy traffic regulation. Then, a drunk driver still managed to plow through and kill a cyclist despite the safety precautions. It just goes to show that—permit of not—cars and drivers jeopardize the safety of people.

For the two hours or so that the park managed to occupy the Third Street parking spot, no traffic events went down. Rather, passers by are reported to have expressed genuine interest and excitement at the prospect of a mini-park-for-a-day. Some even had time to sit for a while and at least one game of chess took place.

This example really gets at the heart of the discussion that needs to be taking place: who are our public spaces really for? Such demonstrations serve as an opportunity to market Louisville as a city that promotes out-of-the-box thinking to a broader global community. Louisville must begin thinking actively and creatively about how quality green space affects our built environment. Continue the discussion at the Urban Design Studio!

According to the official site, there were more than 700 Park(ing) Day parks in 140 cities in 21 countries and six continents. At least Louisville had one for part of the day.

Thanks also to Dave Morse for pointing out that the (first?) Park(ing) Day spot occurred in September 2007. We need to make this event explode next year with a few dozen spots—permits in hand. (And we hear that a similar project to this Park(ing) Day park is planned for next week’s World Car-Free Day.) More later.

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Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

5 COMMENTS

  1. As stated by the spokesperson for Public Works as the reason for shutting down Park Day, ““All it takes is one person texting and driving to kill someone at the event.”…
    well, that is all it takes to ruin everyone’s day as they stroll on a sidewalk, bike on the streets, or drive their auto vehicle anywhere, and I do mean everywhere else…what a lame excuse..

    I am counting the days to end of the Abramson administration..what a breath of fresh air that will be regardless of the winner of the mayor race. Nothing could be worse than the same brainless, lack of vision and all talk and no action of the current administration. Jerry is a decade past his prime and it shows on many fronts.

  2. “think outside the box”? impossible for anyone in current administration to do so. mayor jer prohibits it (well, unless a photo op for himself could be quickly arranged). face it, permitting process would have taken months (years?) in louisville.
    Park(ing) Day – what a great idea. I wish more people would embrace the concept!!

  3. It is unfortunate that they were forced to move this inside, however it will start a good conversation about how we should use public spaces. The Park(ing) Spot looks rather nice though, hopefully I’ll get to see it a bit later today.

  4. the irony of this is that if the same turf and furnishings had been set up on the back of a flatbed or even on a non-motorized trailer, there would have been no issue. would it have been safer? maybe, maybe not. all they needed was some wheels to be legal!

    didn’t these park(ing) days originate as a minor act of civil disobedience, anyway? it’s supposed to point out the fact that that 10’x 20′ area has potential for greater and more meaningful value than the storage of a car, and if you’re renting the space you oughtta be able to decide what for.

    you’re right, david: the city better get busy with that three-foot buffer, barriers, and cones at all the sidewalks!

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