The sixth annual PARK(ing) Day is right around the corner. On September 19, the non-profit transportation organization Accès Transports Viables (Access Viable Transports) will invite the population of Quebec City to think up a new face for parking spaces on several main roadways. Interested parties had until August 29 to submit their proposals in order to participate in the day’s creative outbursts.
PARK(ing) Day is an initiative that has taken place for several years in more than 160 cities across the globe. “It is a nice way to question the place given to the car and the way in which we use urban space, through the use of images,” explains Marline Côté, coordinator of Education and Awareness Projects for Accès Transport Viables.
In Quebec City, the initiative has been a growing success, with stronger participation over the course of several years: from 6 projects in 2011, to 11 initiatives the following year, then nearly 20 projects in 2013. And for 2014? “We aim to have between 30 and 40 spaces featuring projects” says Côté.
For the sixth year, the organization will target Cartier Street, Saint-Jean Street, 3rd Avenue, and Saint-Joseph Street. The day’s schedule is designed to allow the maximum amount of people to either participate or to come observe the proposed creations. The participating teams therefore have from noon to 3:00 p.m to prepare their parking space, and then they must manage it from 3:00-8:00 p.m.
As for the public, they are invited to vote for their favorite installation, leading up to an award ceremony that will take place the same night for the participants. A jury will also announce its selections for two categories: “Citizen” and “Corporate.” “A group of friends does not have the same means as a business to create their space, and with the corporate category we want to encourage urban planning and architecture firms to participate,” says Côté.
Over the course of the years, the projects proposed to Accès Transports Viable have varied. They have ranged from small parks to urban salons, as well as spaces dedicated to physical activities such as yoga, tai-chi, mini-golf, and more. And that does not include the occasional more imposing architectural installations. For example, last year an architecture firm set up a giant mouse trap, and in place of cheese, they put a gas canister on top of it.”
The activity is presented as part of the Week of Public and Active Transportation, which will take place in Quebec City from September 16-22. In addition to PARK(ing) Day, the event also includes several activities such as Carless Day and the Bicycle Film Festival.
“It is a nice activity to do with your family, or with friends. It is entertaining, enjoyable, and it doesn’t require much energy. During the activities, there is a great synergy that is created through dialogue and interaction with the public. It’s a pleasant experience. And that is without mentioning that it is also a good opportunity for people to get involved in their community, and to have an impact on the future of the downtown and its development,” concludes the coordinator.
How do cultural and community events such as PARK(ing) Day differ from standard education in the way they challenge citizens to think about transportation and urban development?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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