Photo by The Great Photographicon on Flickr.

Tomorrow is Park(ing) Day, where civic leaders and everyday people turn on-street parking spaces into temporary public parks to demonstrate the different ways we can use our public space. In our region, there will be parks tomorrow at the Wilson Building, Metro Center, and in Rosslyn.

Along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Wilson Building (between 14th and 13½ Street), Councilmember Tommy Wells, chairman of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation, and Planning, is organizing a park in 4 councilmember-dedicated parking spaces, including those from Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Mary Cheh (ward 3) and Kenyan McDuffie (ward 5).

The park will run from 9 am to at least 3 pm. It will include a parklet with picnic tables, couches and library books, and a few organized fitness activities. Wells and his staff plan an organized library story time at 11, a cookout from 11:30 to 1, and music and fitness activities after 1:30. Washington Parks and People is providing the park equipment.

Good permanent parks also include healthy trees, and tree advocacy group Casey Trees is organizing a temporary park at 12th and G Streets, by Metro Center, from 8 am to 6 pm. They will turn 3 parking spaces, or 660 square feet, into a park with 15 trees from their farm in Berryville, Virginia, along with shrubs, grass and sod. The park’s seating will let people eat lunch and play games.


Layout of Casey Trees planned park. Image from Casey Trees.


Arlington’s Artisphere is organizing a park in Rosslyn from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm in front of its arts center, at 1101 Wilson Boulevard. Design studio Apartment Zero is designing the park, and Dance Exchange will do a performance from 5-6:30.

The Artisphere event matches up with an exhibition they have going on right now, Beyond the Parking Lot, which looks at how our car infrastructure has transformed the landscape, and the long-term scars it leaves behind. The exhibit is free and runs until November 4.

All of these parks come from established organizations, but the sprit of Park(ing) Day is for everyone. In many cities, individual citizens feed the meter at a parking space and roll out their own artificial turf and a bench. In fact, that’s exactly what the original Park(ing) Day was, a performance art project in San Francisco. Will we have any of those here?

If you get any good photographs of Park(ing) Day installations, whether official or guerrilla, in the Washington area, please add them to the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr Pool!