Mini parks take over parking spots in D.C.

The temporary park set up in Georgetown featured chalk for passers-by to leave their mark. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON – Railroad ties as benches, sod instead of asphalt — it’s a pop-up park outside Georgetown’s Baked and Wired restaurant.

“Actually it’s really cute. I like the idea,” says Geneva DamPere who works nearby.

“I don’t know how functional it is seeing as this is a pretty busy road, in terms of functionality and safety … But I like the idea,” DamPere says.

Parking Day is an international event encouraging artists, designers and citizens to transform metered parking spots into public parks. The event started in San Francisco in 2005, and this year 975 parks will be constructed around the globe as part of the event, according to organizer Rebar.

More than a dozen permits for Parking Day were obtained in D.C., according to DDOT.

Parking Day is meant to to start a conversation about urban planning and the need to reclaim space taken by cars.

“We saw it more as an art installation than just a park,” says Tony Velazquez, owner of Baked and Wired, who designed the park outside his business with his son.

“It is cool and it’s commendable to the District to let us do something without pulling strings,” Velazquez says.

While they agree converting a parking space into a park is a fun idea, some question the need for more green space in a city with numerous city and national parks.

“Though it’s fun, I think that we already have opportunities like walking down the canal for instance to experience nature and take a break from the city,” says Jessica Brown who works near the restaurant.

Here are a few tweets sharing other pop-up parks around town:

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