FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Portland Celebrates PARK(ing) Day 2014
Parking spaces around the globe to be temporarily reclaimed as public space
September 17, 2014, Portland, ME — On Friday, Portland artists, businesses, activists, and citizens will participate in an international event called “PARK(ing) Day,” temporarily transforming more than ten downtown parking spaces into public parks and social spaces.
Originally invented in 2005 by a San Francisco art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the public spaces of our streets, and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure.
“PARK(ing) Day is about showing people what can happen if we start thinking about streets as public spaces for people, not just cars,” says Abby King, Advocacy Coordinator at the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. “Today we are transforming parking spots into fun, safe, community-oriented parks because we’re able to take cars out of the equation for just a little while.”
On the Portland peninsula alone, there are over 9,000 parking spaces that occupy over 26 acres of space. “We want to challenge people to rethink the way that we use our public space – including our streets -and remind them that the way we’ve always done it isn’t the only way,” says Sarah Schindler, Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law. “We should all consider what our communities needs more of, what we need less of, and how can we facilitate the changes that we want to see in our cities and towns.”
Reclaimed PARK(ing) spaces will offer relaxation, shelter, games, and refreshments to visitors at sites stretching from Deering Center to the Old Port. At least eleven parking spots will be converted into “parklets” this Friday, including the following:
- The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will invite visitors to pedal their own milkshake on a bicycle-powered blender at their spot at 477 Congress Street
- LT’s Inc, a graphic design studio, will create an ART PARK at 37 Danforth Street
- Mainely SEO, a web design company, will set up yard games and a picnic and will be working from laptops at their spot at 377 Fore Street
- Michael Belleau, Architect, will create a park-let with plywood furniture near 70 Exchange Street.
- PDT Architects will create a versatile furniture system made from pallets and coffee bean bags at 185 Middle Street
- The Portland Gear Hub, in the basement of the YMCA, will set up at 70 Forest Avenue. They will host kiddie pool duck fishing, an outdoor-themed reading library with ski furniture, a youth garden, and a Zumba Class at noon
- The Planning & Urban Development Department at the City of Portland will be demonstrating a bike corral in a parking space at 567 Congress Street
- Portland Resident Eric Larson will create a “Purple Paw Doggie Pool Party” at 570 Brighton Avenue
- Portland Residents Genevieve Cox and Sarah Graulty will set up a tent and display at 539 Congress Street
- SPACE Gallery will set up a spot with members of their art and music collective at 538 Congress Street
- The United Way of Greater Portland will set up a child’s desk to engage visitors on issues related to children’s literacy near 188 Middle Street
- The VIA Agency, a marketing firm, will be taking over a spot at 619 Congress Street and will create a Portland version of “Humans of New York,” a photo blog featuring portraits and interviews collected in the City
More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities can be found at http://tinyurl.com/portlandparkingday2014, and a global map of all participating cities is available on the PARK(ing) Day network: www.parkingday.org.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement. We support biking for health, transportation, and fun. For more information: bikemaine.org.