San Francisco Park(ing) Day 2009
The first Park(ing) Day was launched by Rebar in 2005, right here in San Francisco. Watch our latest Streetfilm to see how San Francisco re-purposed parking spots during Friday's Park(ing) Day. Just imagine if bike parking and expanded outdoor café seating took over our automobile-filled public spaces every day!
Julie Kim: [0:05] 1: Park(ing) Day is this amazing thing that was started by everybody's favorite local art collective, Rebar, in 2005. And really, it's based on a very simple idea, which is to take out a really short-term lease on a parking spot, anywhere in the city, and to transform it into a great piece of public space.
Marc Caswell: [0:25] Park(ing) Day is the day where citizens who do not own cars remind the city, and everybody, that sometimes we can use this asphalt and this space for things other than private auto storage. Just because we don't have a vehicle with an internal-combustion engine doesn't mean we don't have the right to this public space. [music]
Julie Kim: [0:45] 1: If you're not parking, you are hanging out with friends, you're sitting down in places that are well-designed, to talk with your friends, to have lunch. Today we had a great board game designed by one of the volunteers who helped us build this space.
Jordan Salinger: [1:01] We built 11 platforms. They're seven-by-four feet in length. Each parking spot is 22 feet long, so it was a total of 44 feet that we had to cover. People were playing hearts. There was a cellist. We had four different DJs over the course of the day.
Julie Kim: [1:14] And we had belly dancing. We had DJs. We had music. We had all these things that help make the streetscape really vibrant. [music]
Hanna Suleiman: [1:29] I think we've been blessed by such a beautiful day to make this thing even a more perfect thing. I have been working very hard and trying to enlarge the sidewalk spaces that we have particularly in North Beach where we have a lot of tourists that come in. We've been trying to work with the Planning Department for quite a long time, and seeing this as a first step that was making an awareness of how important and how beneficial it is for the city, for the businesses, and for the overall look of the city, is really kind of heartwarming for us.
Rod Freebairn-Smith: [2:06] In the 1950s, the street was widened, and the sidewalks were narrowed to about eight or nine feet. And many of us have wanted to work, for years, in an effort to restore the original sidewalks. A day like this lets us show how much better it is.
Marc Caswell: [2:23] Public space is really important, and private auto storage is a large percentage of use of public lands, especially in urban environments like San Francisco. So we need to make sure that we remind people that, while we understand that some people do need to have vehicles, it's not necessarily the responsibility of the city to store your private vehicle. And instead, this public space should and could be used for many other things. [2:44] The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, in partnership with SF Landscapes and the Friends of the Urban Forest and the Palmer Group, worked together with some local businesses to show off on-street bike parking. This is a really great, innovative idea, taking the parking for bikes off of the sidewalks, instead moving them in the same place where a car would park. Sometime in about 2010, we expect that the city will be installing many of these throughout the city, and today was the day where we wanted to give residents of San Francisco a taste of what on-street bike Parking really looks like.
Julie Kim: [3:12] 1: So, this is our park. And we took a chapter out of a Japanese tradition and did a wishing tree, and we decided to sort of dictate what your wish was this year. With all the budget cuts, we thought state parks were pretty important, so our wish is to save state parks in California. So we're helping do petitions as the wishes, and we'll send it to the senators. It's so perfectly aligned and made so much sense, we thought, this year, our park should have a cause and it should stand for something, maybe, more than just a park. Maybe it's a bigger issue. [music]
Julie Kim: [3:48] 1: From looking on the Park(ing) Day website this morning, this is really happening in cities all across the world. It was started here in San Francisco, but I think this is really catching on, in LA, New York, and then in South America and Europe, everywhere.
Marc Caswell: [4:02] Something like 400 locations across the world, a lot in San Francisco, but I saw the map, and they're all over the entire world, especially in the United States. People throughout the world are recognizing that public space is a really important part of civic life. [music]