Greater Greater Washington

Public Spaces


Parks popping up tomorrow for Park(ing) Day

Tomorrow is Park(ing) Day, where civic leaders and everyday people turn on-street parking spaces into temporary public parks to demonstrate the different ways we can use our public space. In our region, there will be parks tomorrow at the Wilson Building, Metro Center, and in Rosslyn.


Photo by The Great Photographicon on Flickr.

Along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Wilson Building (between 14th and 13½ Street), Councilmember Tommy Wells, chairman of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation, and Planning, is organizing a park in 4 councilmember-dedicated parking spaces, including those from Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Mary Cheh (ward 3) and Kenyan McDuffie (ward 5).

The park will run from 9 am to at least 3 pm. It will include a parklet with picnic tables, couches and library books, and a few organized fitness activities. Wells and his staff plan an organized library story time at 11, a cookout from 11:30 to 1, and music and fitness activities after 1:30. Washington Parks and People is providing the park equipment.

Good permanent parks also include healthy trees, and tree advocacy group Casey Trees is organizing a temporary park at 12th and G Streets, by Metro Center, from 8 am to 6 pm. They will turn 3 parking spaces, or 660 square feet, into a park with 15 trees from their farm in Berryville, Virginia, along with shrubs, grass and sod. The park's seating will let people eat lunch and play games.


Layout of Casey Trees planned park. Image from Casey Trees.

Arlington's Artisphere is organizing a park in Rosslyn from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm in front of its arts center, at 1101 Wilson Boulevard. Design studio Apartment Zero is designing the park, and Dance Exchange will do a performance from 5-6:30.

The Artisphere event matches up with an exhibition they have going on right now, Beyond the Parking Lot, which looks at how our car infrastructure has transformed the landscape, and the long-term scars it leaves behind. The exhibit is free and runs until November 4.

All of these parks come from established organizations, but the sprit of Park(ing) Day is for everyone. In many cities, individual citizens feed the meter at a parking space and roll out their own artificial turf and a bench. In fact, that's exactly what the original Park(ing) Day was, a performance art project in San Francisco. Will we have any of those here?

If you get any good photographs of Park(ing) Day installations, whether official or guerrilla, in the Washington area, please add them to the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr Pool!

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Baltimore's is at 800 North Charles. Just down the road from where I live (moved there, still work in DC, still frequent GGW).

by Weiwen on Sep 20, 2012 1:07 pm • linkreport

As the district govt. and it's prefered developers gobble up all the remaing land for "mixed use development" our only parks will be in prefered upper NW and cute activities like this. McMillan is a Central Park which the city needs as recreation ,culture, art and performance. The reservoir and mcMillan Sand Filtration Plant need to be rejoined, for jogging, walking , picnics,, and preservation as open green space, like the 500% more that is so nicley manicured for the prefered section in upper NW.
The environmental problems of Bloomingdale
and LeDroit Park flooding will be improved by the restoration of McMillan Park. The city is on acollision coourse , and we cannot go back once historic Mcmillan is demolished aand built over.What do you think the addition of 2000 toilets will do to the problem there? Our city officials are too busy building the city of the future(overubanization)to take responsible care of the city we live in now as you see the flooding horror ignored for years.We have to get on this govt. , and defend this park,which is surroounded by development, onthe AFRH, the hospital center, CUA, 901 Monroe, and the destruction of the brookland green for WMATA to over develope the CUA-Brookland metro. They complain we have 1000 new residents a month coming to DC. Obviously the profit making development community want to build a brand new housing unit for each one. We see the alternatives, they don't regardles of the impact and enourmous difficulties. Tunnel vision is always a path to waste and disaster. The City Council Committee on Economic Development was shown a brilliant design alternative by Miriam Gusevich,,check it out, on the sept.19 "roundtable" hearing.toward the end of the video, her abreviated presentation shows "world class" site design preserving and reusing the lower acres of galleries, as City Market, urban waterworks, and recreation. There are perfectly brilliant ways to accomplish this reclaimation that will save the green roof on the surface to benefit the flooding problem. You just have to be open to other input than the tired EYA/Vision mcMillan Partners struggle to force a cookie cutter suburban style development on a special historic and env. site. Gusevich also preseerves the largest section as unified park space, the views and still includes housing and comercial development. DC govt. hasn't had the good sense to plant trees and other rain absorbing mitigation for the 27 years they have wasted the 25 acres..Just let the sewage back up into our neighbors house,,, and keep building, paving, and removing the mature trees. If planted when the city acquired McMillan in 1987,, we would have a deep forest there of tall healthy trees by now, place to hike, urban agriculture,, all too intelligent!

by Daniel Wolkoff on Sep 21, 2012 6:01 am • linkreport

What?!? Four private parking spaces are going to be converted to mini-parks for several hours tomorrow?!? WAR ON DRIVERS!

by oboe on Sep 21, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

Daniel Wolkoff,

Great idea for McMillan and thanks for pointing out what's already happening in Brookland with the flooding thanks to over-urbanization (I have first-hand experience, having experienced flooding at my house there).

But that train has already left the station. DC wants to be Manahattan. Thanks to the height limits, the only way DC can pack 'em in is to gobble up every piece of available land. Once that happens, they'll start knocking down everything that's not suitable for for "mixed-use".

Wait! They're already doing that.

by ceefer on Sep 21, 2012 5:01 pm • linkreport

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