Hayes Valley celebrates PARK(ing) Day [October-November 2010 print edition]

by Mari Hunter and Jamie Lopez
With a reputation of being at the core of ingenuity, San Francisco played a gracious host in 2005 as Rebar, an art and design studio, transformed a metered parking space into public space. Coined PARK(ing) Day, the project was created to bring attention to the significant discrepancies of developed public space, 70% for vehicles and 30% for everything else (Rebar, 2010). In addition to illustrating the need for more open space,

PARK(ing) Day’s mission also intends to examine the values that generate the form of urban public space including how it is created and allocated. The original PARK consisted of a patch of sod, a tree and a bench and stood for two hours. PARK(ing) Day is now an annual open-source global event where anyone and everyone is encouraged to temporarily convert metered parking spaces into a space that addresses specific community needs, generosity, cultural expression, socializing and play. Previous installations have ranged from free health clinics and ecology demonstrations to political seminars, free bike repair shops and a wedding ceremony.

PARK(ing) Day 2010, held on Friday, September 17, began as a typical summer day in San Francisco, with drizzle enough to wet your hair. The weather forecaster’s ‘almost rain’ didn’t dampen the spirit of Hayes Street merchants as they claimed the parking space in front of their respective stores, each a uniquely constructed statement of what could be.

True Sake, 524 Hayes
Quote: “Game on!” and “Welcome to Hayes Field”
True Sake created a miniature soccer field complete with netted training goals, boundary cones and, of course, a regulation soccer ball for those passersby who just can’t get enough of a great game.

Propeller, 555 Hayes
A car covered in grass sod with small porcelain pigs.

Zonal Art Park, 568 Hayes
This year featuring art installations by Mark Baugh-Sasaki Artist Mark Baugh-Sasaki and Zonal proprietor Russell created a user-friendly sculpture garden that encouraged people to have a seat, take some tea and experience the influence of art works amongst the neighborhood environment, whatever the space. “Public art is a necessity!”

Cisco Home, 580 Hayes
Quote: “Clothing optional!” A minimal garden/terrace setting with wood deck chairs, table for drinks and magazines. It’s summer – enjoy a staycation on Hayes Street.

Momi Toby’s Revolution Cafe, 528 Laguna
A spot of grass to create a place for play.

Neighborhood Parks Council and City Car Share, City Car Share lot on Hayes @ Octavia
“Neighborhood Parks Council and City Car Share have participated in PARK (ing) Day for many years. One car off the streets takes 15 tons of carbon emissions out of our environment. Our vision is instead to have a lot more green spaces in the neighborhood like we’ve created here today.” Victoria Bell, Deputy Director, Neighborhood Parks Council

Learn more about PARK(ing) day here.