Don’t Even Think Of Trying Your Park(ing) Day Shenanigans On Any Other Day


[ Park(ing) Day on 1st Ave between University and Seneca ]

Yes, Park(ing) Day is the purest of wholesome urban goodness.   Last Friday in Seattle and cities all over the country, people took over street parking spaces, filled them with stuff, and hung out in publicly owned space that is normally and unquestionably surrendered for the storage of cars.

I had lunch out on a sod covered spot near the man-who-is-not-currently-hammering, and before long was joined by three friends who happened to be walking by checking out the scene.  As Lewis Mumford put it, “The city is a place for multiplying happy chances and making the most of unplannable opportunities.”  And creative use of our public spaces is one of the most powerful catalysts.

Yet there is also a lame subtext to Park(ing) Day in Seattle:  It is officially sanctioned, but only allowed during a specific designated time window during a single designated day of the year.  If you try it on any other day, you will be told to pack it up and leave by the Seattle Police Department, and you take the chance of being issued a ticket.  Even if you put money in the meter to pay for your parking space.   Because you have to have an event permit, or some such nonsense.  Not so in San Francisco, though Seattle is certainly not unique among municipalities in its curmugeonry.

That sort of overbearing regulation is begging to be challenged.  Picture a renegade Park(ing) Day family dinner, complete with small children, a baby in a high chair.  And then picture how stupid the cops would look trying to break it up.  Park(ing) Day happenings should be allowed, if not encouraged to happen spontaneously on any and every day.  Why the hell not?

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Bonus:  who can spot the eco-rock star in the photo?

9 Responses to “Don’t Even Think Of Trying Your Park(ing) Day Shenanigans On Any Other Day”

  1. Uncle Vinny

    Is that Alan Durning in the blue shirt?

  2. Joe G

    I totally agree. I bet that I could even get someone slow walking, arthritic grandmother to join the dinner! And maybe a dog with a cast on his two front legs.

  3. Aja West

    I wish “Not so” wasn’t linked to a slash.

  4. dan bertolet

    Link fixed now, sorry.

    Also, Uncle Vinny wins.

  5. keith

    speaking of the permitted hours: the parks had to shut down by 3:00 pm on friday so as to not take up parking spaces when they were in high demand. lame, indeed.

    i’m up for a guerilla park(ing) day installation, baby and all.

  6. Elliott

    Dan, I love your Mumford quotes.

  7. Alan Durning

    It is me, with Feet First’s inimitable Lisa Quinn in the photo. But I don’t see any rock stars.

    More on guerrilla Parking Day. In Vancouver, BC, apparently, you can park anything you want in a parking space. Kamala Rao, a friend there, has a photo album on Facebook that tells the story of parking a dining table in one such spot and having a lazy evening streetside with a big gang of friends. They brought the table in on a bike trailer.

    I don’t know whether folks will be able to see it on Facebook if they’re not her “friends,” but here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=52362&id=689179368&ref=mf

  8. Finish Tag

    My understanding was that the parks had to shut down because no parking is allowed on First so the BUSES can get through. I don’t think the shut down time was a conspiracy of SDOT.

  9. Good Grief

    That’s right — PARKING isn’t even allowed in the parking speaces on 1st after 3pm.

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