Seattle PARKing Day will expand to two days this year
If you love the annual Seattle PARKing Day, this is good news. If you hate it … well, tough luck.
Seattle PARKing Day returns this September and is expanding from one to two days — Friday, Sept. 16 and Saturday, Sept. 17. On PARKing Day, pop-up parks emerge throughout the city, taking over car parking spaces along the street. That has led to criticism from Seattle’s car-loving, and parking-deprived community. Though not everyone is anti-PARKing Day. The program consistently garners enough locals to host them, and others who enjoy checking them out.
Seattle PARKing Day has been an annual tradition since 2007, but 2016 will be the first year of Seattle PARKing Day Plus, which adds the extra day. Seattle is among 160 cities across the nation that participate in the event. Over the past couple years, approximately 50 of these parks have sprouted up during the event.
SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah said that the city receives an increasing number of park applications each year, which is partially why the event has been expanded to two days. The second day has also been added in response to community input, Mah said. Community groups asked for the second day to give people a chance to experience the parks who would otherwise be working on a Friday. The second day also allows the parks to pop up with a smaller impact on traffic.
Locals have been fairly creative in the past converting parking spaces into game stations, arts and crafts spaces, cafe-style lounges, and even parks that seem like your living room. There have been giant-sized Jenga and smoothie stations, too.
The Seattle Department of Transportation and the Department of Neighborhoods offer $1,000 grants to residents that create their own parks, with the aim of building stronger, healthier communities while “re-thinking” how Seattle’s streets can be used. The parks are also encouraged to test temporary street improvements, such as adding bike lanes or better sidewalks. The city doesn’t put a cap on how many pop-up parks can be permitted. The parks have to break down and move off of the road overnight, between Friday and Saturday.
SDOT is currently accepting applications for the pop-up parks — the deadline is Aug. 5.