Spacing Out

I shared an elevator earlier this week with an older woman who was visibly flustered.

“The parking here! It’s horrible!”

Yes, I agreed, it’s never good on weekdays in Downtown Albany. I suggested she use a nearby garage next time; it’s a longer walk, but much less of a hassle.

The parking downtown stinks, and that’s why this caught my eye:

Park(ing) Day
Yay, a mini dog park!

These folks are part of an event called Park(ing) Day sponsored by Parks & Trails New York. The idea is to raise awareness of the need for open space, and the way they’re doing it is setting up temporary “parks” in actual parking spaces. In a press release they say it’s “an excellent way to remind ourselves of the importance of having natural areas that are accessible to everyone.”

Well, that’s certainly interesting  — and I do get it — but it has to be one of the most poorly thought out things I’ve ever seen.

There was a fellow standing nearby when I took the picture above.

“What do you think of this?”

“Oh, it’s pretty cool!”

“How would you feel if you couldn’t find a parking space?”

“Haha.. I guess I’d be pretty pissed!”

Look, nobody can argue against green space, but within a mile of that parking spot are the Corning Preserve, Washington Park, Lincoln Park and half a dozen smaller urban parks.

Maybe inconveniencing people is a good way to make your point. Albany seems to think so, because the city and Downtown BID are among the event’s sponsors. Me? I’m not sure that the elderly woman  who couldn’t find a parking space would agree.

5 thoughts on “Spacing Out

  1. While the local effort may not have focused on this, a major goal of the international PARK(ing) day movement is to highlight what an enormous amount of urban space that is allotted to cars could be better used. So yeah, taking space from cars is sort of the point. Parking in cities is SUPPOSED to suck; density and walkability make cities vibrant.

  2. Net effect is that two cars went and parked on a grassy spot somewhere else. Parking can neither be created nor destroyed. It only changes form.

    1. I’m not sure how parking spaces along a street eat up space. What are we going to do, have wider sidewalks?

      Now, if you told me we’re going to permanently close a few streets in Albany to cars and create pedestrian malls and plazas, I might be in favor of that.

      1. That’s a good idea . . . . we could name it, oh, let’s say, The Plaza of the Empire State!! Maybe knock down the rest of the Center Square, drive out the undesirable hipsters and bohos and their coffee and burrito bars, throw in some modern sculpture, maybe a tower with a shed on top of it to give it some curb appeal. You know, you just might be on to something here!!!

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