Park(ing) Day!

All right, this is going to be brief, because you have *got* to get away from your computer and go see the *nine* new parks in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge! Here’s a map! But they’re only open today until 5pm, or until the quarters run out. It’s National Parking Day, when landscape designers, urbanists, art students, and just plain silly people create parks-for-the-day in parking spaces. (What else would do in a parking space?)

Parking Day has been an absurd annual event since 2005, when San Francisco’s Rebar art and design studio converted a single space. The movement has grown to a gazillion cities and countries and it’s here in Boston now. For those of you who are troubled by maps, here are the addresses, as mailed by Livable Streets.

Boston University: 685 Comm Ave

Mission Hill: Francis St at Huntington Ave

Brookline: Coolidge Corner at 290 Harvard St

Cambridge: on Mass Ave between Day & Chester St by Cambridge Climate Emergency Action

Milton and Russell St by Urban Homestead

Russell and Hadley St by CitySmart

Beech and Allen St by Boston Hoop Troop

Davenport and Roseland St at University Hall

Forest and Newport Rd by Green Streets Initiative

Now, seriously: parking devours public land. Many cities don’t charge enough money for it, which leads to drivers circling blocks over and over again looking for a space that’s cheaper than a public garage, clogging traffic and making everyone less happy.

In many communities, building codes lead to sites where there’s more land devoted to parking than the building itself. Donald Shoup’s The High Cost of Free Parking has a lot of details about the effect of bad parking policy on public life; you can read a summary here.

As a society, we tend not to think about how much parking costs, or what we could do if we gave the land–and the money to build and maintain that parking–over to other uses. So go, take a look at what we could do.

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