When it comes to parking and pedestrians, downtown Miami is a veritable nightmare. But does it have to be that way? Despite our collective cynicism that we'll ever be anything but hopelessly automobile-addicted, some local visionaries are working to show Miamians what life might be like if we had fewer cars and more spaces (not for parking).
On PARK(ing) Day, as it's dubbed, advocates in cities across the globe temporarily transform metered parking spots into public parks and hangouts to raise awareness about urban space issues. And this Friday, it's coming to Miami.
The project originally began in San Francisco in 2005 when Rebar, an art and design studio, turned one parking space into a temporary public park. The concept caught on, and now, it's making its first appearance in the 305.
Marta Viciedo, co-founder of newly launched Urban Impact Lab, helped bring the event to fruition in Miami. Viciedo was also involved in the Purple Line project earlier this year that helped demonstrate the potential positive impact of transit stations.
"I think Miami is ready for it. It's a little bit of a positive disruption. If you put something out there that seems so out of place, people will have to ask about it," she told Cultist.
Urban Impact Lab is an endeavor to "do urban work so some of it will be demo projects or research initiatives or even partnering up with other design firms to create solutions for some of the urban issues we have in Miami," Viciedo says. And, they'll be hosting events like this one.
From 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. on Friday in downtown, you can expect to come across a couple of the converted spots. There'll be one on NE Second Ave, between Third and Fourth Streets, in front of Miami Dade College's Wolfson campus and a second in front of Elwoods Gastro Pubon the corner of NE Third Ave. and Second Street.
"We'll have benches and things like that and we'll have kind of some colorful giant lampposts to mark the spot at the one in front of Wolfson. The other in front of Elwood's will have a penny library and more seating. There'll be some artwork there because it's also part of DWNTWN Art Days. A mini park!" says Viciedo.
The event is a group effort between Urban Impact Lab, Whereby.Us, Miami DDA, and the org we all love to hate -- the Miami Parking Authority (MPA).
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"I think the biggest message that comes along with PARK(ing) day is tied to transportation. If we weren't so auto dependent and we didn't have to create so many parking spaces and by extension garages and lots -- if we had other choices, this could be a space for people," Viciedo adds.
People over cars? Imagine that, Miami.
You can check out more about the concept and event on Facebook.