It's Park(ing) Day

Friday, September 19, 2008

In 50 cities all over the world today people are reclaiming parking spots and creating mini parks in their place. Susan David, director of public affairs for the Trust for Public Land, explains why. Plus, Dave Abraham, Green Committee Chair of the Cobble Hill Association, and Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, join the conversation from their park(ing) spots.


Dave Abraham, Susan David and Paul Steely White

Comments [28]

David in Brooklyn from Working in Manhattan

Come on Sammi, do you even notice 38 parking spots having been occupied in Manhattan? Nope. You're just complainging for the sake of it. The 38 Park(ing) spots taken up in Manhattan are a drop in the bucket. Conroy Jankins hit the nail on the head: the streets are not YOUR simply because you own a car.

And to the guy from Islip, in fact, yes, Mayor Bloomberg is indeed narrowing streets and making more bike lanes/parks partly because of initiatives like this. Times are changing, maybe you should get with them.

Sep. 25 2008 01:04 PM
leah from Brooklyn, NY

Sep. 20 2008 11:52 AM
leah from Brooklyn, NY

Brian, REBAR in SF has been doing this since since 2005.>>

Sep. 20 2008 11:51 AM
Sammi from NYC

Well, we are all entitled to our opinions, but I suppose we are have very different lifestyles and if you cannot relate in any way to what I'm saying, then there is no point debating the issue. As I tried to make clear, I don't have a problem with eliminating spots or reducing traffic or building more parks. I was taking issue with a "demonstration" in support of that subject that unnecessarily takes up space. I was taking issue with people who play tiwster in a parking spot. If you want to narrow the street and plant trees and put tables and benches in there, go for it. I'll put my car in parking and come join you for coffee or a game of chess!

Sep. 19 2008 12:19 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

brian from sf--take it on, good man!

Sep. 19 2008 12:16 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

conroy jankins, you nailed it. agree with the short shrift, but it seems that brian's show, at times, does what npr does--gives 5 minutes or less to a topic that deserves far more. but during an election year, this is what we get.

Sep. 19 2008 12:15 PM
Brian from San Francisco

Why hasn't San Francisco caught on yet?

Sep. 19 2008 12:04 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

sammi, i keep my bike in my studio apt., and it can carry up to 40 lbs on racks front and back (i have a friend who is a professional drummer, and he can carry an entire kit on his bike). i have had to go to nj, and i take the train from penn station. there are also car services to call (when i lived in harlem, these were even more reasonably priced than taxis). yes, it's a personal subject, but isn't it reasonable to remember that we live on an island with limited space? and if that space is dedicated to cars over people, what sort of quality of life does that suggest? net, the alternatives might not be comfortable for you, but they exist. i'd prefer that public funds provide parks and safe places to walk over parking any day. most of us don't/can't own a car here, nor feel the need for them. "anyone who drives in nyc" is the problem.

Sep. 19 2008 12:04 PM
conroy jankins from Brooklyn

i'm disappointed with the short shrift given this topic on the show today. the only caller, besides TA's exec director at one of the spots, was some guy who completely doesn't get it. like sammi here in comments, it doesn't occur to these folks that cars are not entitled to street space. sammi, if you need to park, why don't you patronize one of manhattan's many pay parking lots? why drive around in circles for hours, wasting time and gas, taking up valuable street space, congesting the streets, polluting the air, just so you can find deeply discounted (by taxpayer subsidy) curbside real estate? if you say the reason you don't use a pay parking lot is that it is very expensive compared to curbside parking, that is the point ... the market rate for parking is very high & that reflects the fact that this city is clogged with cars circling blocks looking for cheap parking. why do you need to drive? too good for the subway? what are the sunk costs of car ownership in this city anyway? isn't it very expensive? insurance, etc.? why not just take a cab or a car service if you only use your car for "emergencies"?

Sep. 19 2008 12:03 PM
holly from brooklyn

thanks so much for discussing this! i didn't know it was happening. this is one of the many reasons i love living in new york. i grew up in the midwest/south and have never missed car-centric living for one second!
it's very unfortunate that this would make anyone angry.
i would have been delighted to happen upon one of these parks. this kind of thing puts a smile on my face and reminds me to slow down and take stock of my priorities. getting to that meeting on time is important, but it's even better to be reminded of the positive energy, creativity, cooperative spirit and desire for social progress that makes humans special.

Sep. 19 2008 12:01 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

i wouldn't expect someone from central islip to understand that this is not only happening in nyc. it is a demonstration of space for PEOPLE over cars. enough of us are sick of having to walk or cycle here, risking our lives to cross the superhighways created by the d.o.t. parking is not a right, people. hats off to transalt for taking this on!

Sep. 19 2008 11:56 AM
Sammi from NYC

In response to thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan, I appreciate the suggestion, but sometimes taxis and bikes are not a feasible option. I don't have a bike (no where to store it) and you can’t transport anything on a bike (if I have nothing to carry, I take the subway). I borrow the car from my mom (don't own one) and use it when I need to transport things or people. I'm not talking about a medical emergency; just things that are simply important. Taxis can add up, especially if you have to go to the outer boroughs or NJ. And taxis are not always available (depending on the hour) - I have waited over 30 minutes for cabs before.

Regardless of the available (or unavailable) alternatives, the point is that if one wants to make a pseudo-political statement, it would be better to do so without inconveniencing other people. It would be upsetting to me if I pulled up to a spot where people are playing twister and I needed it and couldn't have it. I think what is happening on places like Broadway and 39th St. with the narrowing of the street and creating the sidewalk café-type places is a much better way of making the City more pedestrian-friendly. I’m even ok with street closures. But ask anyone who drives in NYC – parking is a touchy, personal subject! :)

Sep. 19 2008 11:55 AM
Tim Kirkby from Midtown, NY

Just want to share some alarming statistics about parking in America, taken from Doug Farr's recent book, Sustainable Urbanism:

In 1973 there were an estimated 4 parking spots provided for every car in america, equivalent to a 25 percent occupancy rate for roughly 1 billion parking spaces.

The cost of constructing parking spaces is high, anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 for a surface spot. (A major ingredient in pavement is oil, so this cost will increase as the cost of oil increases)

Despite this enourmous investment in parking, it is generally offered free to users, paid for by the private sector through increased prices and by the public sector in taxes.

Sep. 19 2008 11:52 AM
Peter from Manhattan

Brian says to "keep feeding that meter" to avoid a ticket. But that's illegal. Metered spaces can only be legally occupied by the same vehicle (or sod layout and beach chair) for one hour (or whatever the maximum time the meter can be set for).

Sep. 19 2008 11:50 AM
Talavera from Central Islip - Long Island, N.Y.

This is absolutely DUMB!!!!!!

Nobody will build more parks in NYC because of the FOOLS!!!!!!!!

Sep. 19 2008 11:47 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

sammi, if it's for an "emergency" one uses a car in manhattan (not sure what that could be), wouldn't you be better served by a taxi...or bicycle?

Sep. 19 2008 11:45 AM
Daniel from Montclair NJ

PLEEEEEEEZE get a life! How can you make this a priority within your life from Monday-Friday! Read the news and get in touch

Sep. 19 2008 11:44 AM
Lloyd from Manhattan

Paul Steely White must not be from NYC. A New Yorker would never say "eighth aav" We always say "eighth avenue"

Sep. 19 2008 11:42 AM
Sammi from NYC

I'm sorry to sound so evil, but as someone who has at times looked for a parking space for hours (the most I have looked was two hours and fifteen minutes), I'm a little disturbed by this project taking up parking space. I'm very pro-environment and I love these kinds of projects (I really like the narrowing of Broadway at 39th St. and the benches and tables there). But taking up a metered parking spot is a bit over the line for me as someone who wastes so much time looking for a spot when I have some sort of emergency with a car to take care of. I don't drive for fun; I drive only when I have to and parking is really hard enough as it is. So as interesting as this idea is, I have a problem with it taking up actual spots on a weekday. With all due respect to your guest, the "one spot on one street on one day" makes a world of difference in a place like NYC to the person who gets the spot.

Sep. 19 2008 11:42 AM
RadRepub from Upper Left Side

Shouldn't these people be working to pay off their subprime mortgages?

Sep. 19 2008 11:41 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

this guy's comment about doing this on the weekends proves how clueless he is to the issue of "parking entitlement" in nyc. kind of elitist.

Sep. 19 2008 11:41 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

shout out to the 8th ave/15th street PARKing spot! Thanks for claiming what should be, for new yorkers, rightfully ours. we miss florent!!!! will come by from west 12th with some quarters...

Sep. 19 2008 11:39 AM
Seth from Astoria

In the openning credits of the classic sitcom Bossom Buddies, it shows the two stars feeding a meter and returning to their lawn chairs sunbathing, in their parking space.

Sep. 19 2008 11:39 AM

brian, i'm sorry. you're never annoying.

Sep. 19 2008 11:38 AM
Fuva from Harlem

This has always happened in Harlem. Folks put up card tables and have barbecues in the summer in parking spots. It's part of Harlem's traditional "outside culture". Still trying to gauge "newcomer's" reaction to this...

Sep. 19 2008 11:35 AM

Brian: stop saying PARKing like that. seriously. it's annoying.

Sep. 19 2008 11:35 AM
Sheree from Manhattan

Absolutely great, creative idea! Thank you, Brian, for bringing this to our attention---I didn't know that this was going on; I'm going to run out and visit the park(ing) spot at Hunter College.

A fossil fuel based way of life is the way of the past---creative people like this will lead us to a better future.

Sep. 19 2008 10:47 AM
Chuck Renaud from Brooklyn

We need more parks!

More streets should be narrowed and shut down.

Make NYC livable.

Sep. 19 2008 10:07 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.