Park(ing) Day
Parking Spaces across Metro
Louisville, Kentucky
This project was in collaboration with Louisville Metro and Broken Sidewalk
Experiencing city streets in a new way

It started with ReBar in 2006 in San Francisco, turning parking spaces into parks for a day. We joined in on the idea in Louisville in 2010 and the idea caught on.

Park(ing) Day 2010
One of the Urban Design Studio’s first forays into tactical urbanism started in September of 2010. We took over a parking space in front of the studio at 507 S Third Street with the idea of creating a temporary park and offering an opportunity for people to think differently about how we allocate our public spaces. In this instance, asking the question of what do we prioritize our city for... people or vehicles?

The idea was that we would feed the parking meter and use it, not to store a car, but to be an active space for people. We worked with community partners, including friends Patrick Henry, Scott McGallard, and Ramsi Kamar, to build a simple greenspace with real grass sod rolled out on plastic mats, some potted trees and plants, and a place to sit and play chess.

Everything was going well at the beginning. Patrick Piuma, Michael McCoy and Megan Enyeart enjoyed the new temporary park and talked with passersby about Park(ing) Day. Piuma had a chance to play some chess with some folks. But around 10 am a public works employee from the city stopped by and asked “what the heck are you doing?” It was at this point that we realized there might have been a breakdown in communications and we didn’t tell anyone from the city what we were doing.

The public works staff member was very nice and mostly understanding, but asked that we remove the parklet for safety concerns. We brought the parklet inside the studio and spent the rest of the day enjoying an indoor park with many people who heard about our efforts and wanted to stop by.

At the end of the day some friends came by on trailer-toting bicycles to take the sod we had used for the parklet and repurpose it at a location that could use it.

Folks at Louisville Metro were interested in what we were trying to do and offered to work with us for future Park(ing) Day efforts.

Ramsi Kamar delivering some plant material to use during Park(ing) Day 2010
Friends of the UDS helping build our first Park(ing) Day parklet in 2010
Piuma and Enyeart hanging out at the 2010 UDS Park(ing) Day parklet
birdseye view of the 2010 UDS Park(ing) Day parklet
Piuma playing chess at the UDS Park(ing) Day parklet
friends hanging out in the indoor Park(ing) Day parklet 2010
kids playing chess in the indoor Park(ing) Day parklet 2010
Turf grass on its way to be reused

Park(ing) Day 2011
In 2011, we hosted our second Park(ing) Day, this time coordinating with Louisville Metro and working with our friend Brandon Klayko of Broken Sidewalk. We created an urban farm park(ing) space in front of the studio and collaborated with six other organizations to transform additional parking locations downtown and in NuLu. We also developed a suggested biking map for people to visit them all.

2011 Park(ing) Day Bicycle Route Map
Park(ing) Day 2011 designs
UDS Park(ing) Day parklet, aerial shot 2011
Christine and Patrick at the UDS Park(ing) Day parklet, 2011
Metro Innovation Team at UDS parklet 2011
Play City Park(ing) Day parklet on Market Street 2011
Corn hole parklet in front of Slugger Field, Park(ing) Day 2011
Parklet with hammock in front of the Green Building in NuLu 2011
KMAC Park(ing) Day parklet 2011
Urbanist friends enjoying the UDS Park(ing) Day parklet in 2011
Brandon and Al Klayko celebrating a successful Park(ing) Day event
Human-powered delivery system at the end of Park(ing) Day 2011

Park(ing) Day 2012
Building on the success and community interest, the Urban Design Studio and Broken Sidewalk grew 2012 Park(ing) Day to to include 24 parklets that also expanded the geographic scope as far away as the Douglass Loop on Bardstown Road, where Mayor Fischer kicked off the day talking to the press at the pop-up mini-golf parklet. The Urban Design Studio and a group of urbanist friends to create a mock streetcar transit stop on 3rd Street. DeLeon & Primmer Architectural Workshop built one of the most ambitious parklets in Louisville with their lime green matrix structure in NuLu. Other participating organizations created creative places to sit and meet people and learn about organizations and the city.

2012 Park(ing) Day mini-golf parklet at Douglass Loop
2012 Park(ing) Day transit parklet at the Urban Design Studio
2012 Park(ing) Day parklet by DeLeon & Primmer
2012 Park(ing) Day parklet on Main Street
2012 Park(ing) Day parklet on Main Street by Bernheim
2012 Park(ing) Day on Main Street
2012 Park(ing) Day movie parklet in NuLu
2012 Park(ing) Day on Main Street
Cleaning up after 2012 Park(ing) Day

Park(ing) Day 2013
By 2013, the Urban Design Studio was asked by Louisville Metro to help expand Park(ing) Day into Park(ing) Week from September 16-20 in front of Metro Hall. We coordinated with 25 local organizations and worked with friend and architect Steven Ward who helped organize and plan the Metro Hall Park(ing) Week design and logistics along with some great local designers.

A wide variety of community partners participated during the course of the week, with pop-up event programming including a pet adoption and cocktails event and a Pecha Kucha Night Louisville event on the steps of Metro Hall.

Architect Jeff Rawlins fabricated a prototype bus shelter that served as a functional amenity for riders well after the week was over.

2013 Park(ing) Day map image button link
2013 Park(ing) Week before the press conference at Metro Hall
Setup of 2013 Park(ing) Week in front of Metro Hall
2013 Park(ing) Day parklet in front of the Green Building
MSD green infrastructure demonstration parklet during 2013 Park(ing) Day
Courier Journal parklet 2013 Park(ing) Day
Goats in a parklet during 2013 Park(ing) Day
Vegetated buffer demo in front of Metro hall during 2013 Park(ing) Week
Tactical urbanism planters setup for food truck corral during 2013 Park(ing) Week
2013 Park(ing) Week human-powered tours
Prototype bus stop by Architectural Artisans' Jeff Rawlins during Park(ing) Week 2013 at Metro Hall
Pecha Kucha Night Louisville on the steps of Metro Hall during 2013 Park(ing) Week

In 2014 the Urban Design Studio looked to activate larger parking spaces, setting its focus on downtown surface lots with the ReSurfaced project. National Park(ing) Day events happen around the world every third Friday in September. Our hope is that a new generation of urbanists and civic-minded organizations will look to host local Park(ing) Day efforts and expand on the community building event across the city.

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