Austinites to celebrate open spaces this Friday, Sept. 21 for global Park(ing) Day

Park(ing) Day is a global event that celebrates residents transforming parking spaces into usable open spaces.

Park(ing) Day is a global event that celebrates residents transforming parking spaces into usable open spaces.

This Friday, Sept. 21 parking spaces throughout the city of Austin will be transformed into temporary parks called parklets as part of a worldwide movement called Park(ing) Day.

Park(ing) Day runs from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and is designed to encourage public engagement and dialogue as well as recognize the need for more open spaces in cities, according to a city of Austin news release.

Residents, artists and activists will be transforming parking spaces into public spaces. The event was started by San Francisco-based Rebar in 2005 as a way to reclaim spaces meant for vehicles, according to information from Rebar.

“You have all of these public spaces, these public parking spaces, that sit vacant or unutilized or utilized by a single-occupancy vehicle for hours hours a day. What could you do with it if it wasn’t an empty car?” said Paloma Amayo-Ryan, transportation supervisor with the Austin Transportation Department.

The city of Austin has been participating in Park(ing) Day for four years, and in 2015, it implemented an official permitting process to register a public parking space, Amayo-Ryan said. This year, 12 permits were submitted with most being located in downtown Austin.

In the past, people have transformed spaces into comfortable areas to sit and relax or even lounge in a hammock. Many spaces include shade and plants, said Logan Saldivar, an associate with landscape architecture and planning firm TBG Partners, which has been involved for all four years.

“From a design standpoint, a lot of new urbanists, planners, architects and landscape architects tend to gravitate toward the event,” she said. “When you put personality to what urban spaces could become people can envision it a lot easier.”

Amayo-Ryan said if passersby notice a Park(ing) Day space, they do not need an invitation to enjoy the space.

Anyone participating in Park(ing) Day is encouraged to share their experience on social media and use the hashtag #PARKingDAYATX.

Several locations in Austin are participating, including:

Alliance Transportation Group
ATG, which has an office in North Ausitn, will help to transform Nightwing Plaza, located at 300 1/2 S. Congress Ave., Austin, into a temporary urban space.

Austin Public Library
The city’s library system will have its mobile library out on Congress Avenue near 10th Street from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

More information is available at

Austin Transportation Department
The department is hosting walking tours from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Interested residents can meet at 316 Congress Ave., Austin. Several parklets will be located along Congress Avenue as well as in South, North and East Austin.

The city now has four permanent parklets, called street patios, located on Congress Avenue thanks to the Park(ing) Day efforts, Amayo-Ryan said.

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
The region’s transportation planning group is hosting at parklet at its office at 3300 N. I-35, Austin. From 1-3 p.m., attendees can gather to talk, play games and enjoy free snow cones. CAMPO staff will also be on hand to discuss the agency’s 2045 Regional Active Transportation Plan and other multimodal planning efforts for walking and biking.

TBG Partners and STG Design
The two firms will be in a parking space outside Amy’s Ice Creams at 1301 S. Congress Ave., Austin, and are partnering with the local ice cream shop for International Day of Peace. Seating and shade made from pallets are included in the space this year, Saldivar said.

By Amy Denney
Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and then senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition and covering transportation. She is now managing editor for the nine publications in the Central Texas area.


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