Pop-up parks coming to Congress Avenue

Three new parks will pop up Sept. 19 on Congress Avenue.

Technically, the parks are parklets—parking slots turned into community green space for the day. The event is a celebration of PARK(ing) Day, a day meant to raise awareness in cities about the lack of community-geared public space.

"It's getting people thinking about how much physical space there is in a parking spot," urban planner Alix Scarborough said. "I think in our city planning and the way people live their lives every day often we don't give a lot of thought to how much space is used for automobiles in our city instead of people."

A typical parking space serves six to eight people a day, while a parklet can serve hundreds, Scarborough said.

Congress for the New Urbanism of Central Texas, a group that advocates for more walkable and mixed-use communities, will host two of the parklets. The third parklet will be hosted by the city of Austin.

The CNU parklets can be found on the east and west side of Congress Avenue between Third and Fourth streets. A total of four parking spots will be taken from the area to accommodate the event. Seating, games and other activities will be available throughout the day beginning at 11 a.m.

The event is not meant to advocate for reducing parking spots in needed areas, Scarborough said. However, putting these parklets in these areas can draw more attention to the need for public space.

PARK(ing) Day has been occurring since 2005 worldwide and started in Austin in 2012. The first parklet demonstration was located on Congress Avenue between Seventh and Sixth streets outside Royal Blue Grocery. The parklet became permanent and is now an area for members of the public or Royal Blue Grocery customers.

By Jennifer Curington

Jennifer covers Austin City Council, its various committees and local business news. After covering Florida's 2013 legislative session she graduated from Georgia Southern University and joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2014.


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