PARK(ing) Day in Brisbane

In the last couple of months I have spent a lot of time around the West End area in Brisbane as it is one of the places I am doing some work at the moment. This morning I discovered that a few spaces in West End and the nearby South Bank region will be among many areas in Brisbane taking part in PARK(ing) Day, which occurs tomorrow, Sept 19th.

I hadn’t heard of PARK(ing) Day before. It originated in San Francisco in 2005, and has become “a one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks”.

The Brisbane arm of the event has its own blogspot website, where you can see all the locations around Brisbane where people will be trying to transform a car parking space into park for a day.  The site states that Brisbane is one of the biggest participators in the event worldwide, which may have something to do with the impact of current and future traffic planning proposals in inner city areas.  There are certainly heaps of supporters listed, including some University departments in the areas of planning and creative arts (although notably the Brisbane City Council has not officially endorsed it).

According to the website, the event is

based on the idea that feeding a parking meter is like “renting” a space. But instead of parking car, why not park something better! Every September, people around the world are now transforming ‘car parks’ to ‘people parks’. These PARKs are fun and visual symbols of communities wanting to improve urban quality.

The Day aims to
1) Call attention to the importance of urban public spaces
2) Rethink the way we use our streets
3) Create diverse conversations about how we make sustainable cities.

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15 Comments

  1. No comments from Brisbanites yet! Muslim ,at least some do, pray five times a day! J ust think what you could do if you rolled out a little rollout turf for every carpark spot!? And turned the meter stuff into boiling a cuppas worth.Then given some of the turf would dry during the day,probably at least five cups of green tea.Turf doesn’t have to be grass! And when the day is over,like some advert. seen here and there,a male skirt,or grass kilt,and dancing on the spot.Then compost later or a mat to wipe your feet before entering house.

  2. At first glance I would say, “as long as they pay for the parking spot”.

    Well they will (according to the dictate). But environmentally speaking, what should we make of the benefits of this:

    “Plastic bollards linked with rope (AKA traffic tubes, available here for about $15/each)”

    All for the greater good I guess? What good?

  3. GZG, it appears to me to be a local level, creative way of trying to stimulate some extra debate on the way we use our streets, and to remind people that streets are not just there to enable the passage of cars.

    People can decide for themselves whether such things have any positive impact, although my general view is anything that encourages people to think about an issue has a greater impact than discouraging thought.

  4. These days many households have so many cars that they end up parking all over the footpaths, especially where there are bus stops. This must be very lucrative for police.

    I think the main problem is that young people are very reluctant to leave home, and are therefore responsible for excess vehicular clutter.

    I think in the future, bus stops will be removed in favour of picking up passengers from ANY street corner. It might have to be either that or legalising the parking of vehicles on footpaths which are still wide enough to allow the passage of pedestrians.

  5. Perhaps Lorikeet we will soon have decent public transport everywhere so we don’t have to own or use cars. (I haven’t had one for 15 years). Equally, increasing petrol and parking prices will are already making it hard for people to afford to run a car.

    I’m not sure how many police go around ticketing cars parked on the footpaths though. I’d like to see them do it more, because they obstruct me walking along where I should be entitled to walk.

  6. Muzz:

    I know what you mean, but where I catch the bus, the footpaths are very wide, and would lend themselves to off-street parking.

    The local councillor told me the police ticket cars parked on the footpath – also cars parked facing the wrong direction on the street. If you need narrow footpaths cleared of cars, you could try phoning the local police. I’m sure they will fix the problem for you, or make a lot of money trying.

    Here’s a little clue for the Rudd government as to how to reduce the extreme degree of alcoholism among the younger population (or anyone). In Singapore, they have simply priced ALL alcohol out of the market. $23.00 is a lot to pay for one drink.

    If you go into a club there, you have to sit on the same drink all night due to cost. You don’t start creating a problem anywhere, because there are lots of plain clothes police officers and very tough courts.

    According to my retired Principal friend, who has travelled extensively through Europe and Asia, you can walk the streets of Singapore in absolute safety at night.

    He says the government tries very hard to get the people to lock up at night, without much success. The place is much too safe to be closed up in the heat.

    He also says that all young people have to do 2 years of compulsory national service with the police force or armed services, so they are well disciplined as well.

    If the government applied some of Singapore’s ideas to the cost of fuel and alcohol, it would probably get a hell of a lot of cars off the roads, along with the drink drivers, and reduce the crime rate as well.

    People might stay home at night with their friends and families.

  7. Wonderful stuff Lorikeet – why stop there.

    I say marshall all youth west of Alice Springs, including young lorikeets and coral them in the desert, until they all bow obsequioulsy at every sensible adult in sight.

  8. Lorikeet – your Retired Principal Friend is 50% wrong re Singapore’s national service – it applies only to males. There is some unhappiness because it delays young males’ education and economic opportunities, while foreigners can take their jobs without being liable to national service. Many Singaporean youth emigrate to escape National Service, and in a time of declining birth rates, Singapore can’t really afford to lose young men at this crucial age, and it appears that this, along with just about every ‘simple solution’ to the ‘problem’ of young people not meeting with the approval of us old codgers, is not quite the panacea many would like to believe.

    As for PARKing Day – I agree with SB – giving people a light-hearted way of becoming conscious of how little open space we have in cities and of how much is eaten up by individuals’ cars .. and some of the overseas PARKing Day events seem to have added a community togetherness element that might start something big. One trend from the USA we could do with.

  9. Dolphin:

    Excuse me but National Service has a lot of advantages for Singaporeans. Yes, on the surface it does seem to hinder rapid career advancement for a short while …. but just try the alternative of not doing National Service if you really want to see career advancement hindered. Of course you will hear whinges from some young people because they see National Service as an inconvenience, an interruption to their set routine.

    The main focus of National Service is, of course, national defence; that’s why the Singapore government pays so much money for its National Service system. However, the main effect is social. It’s like a big club or a lodge, once you’ve done your National Service, doors open everywhere for you; it’s a path to upward social mobility..

    The concept has been almost unknown in Australia for the last couple of generations but it is still well understood in the United States [and in many other countries too] where job application forms invariably have a box “Military Service”, something never seen in Australia these days.

    That’s not to say that the Republic Of Singapore is anything like the old Kingdom Of Prussia [in modern-day Germany] where you couldn’t get a government job if you hadn’t done military service.

  10. Dolphin:

    Who do you think creates the most problems in a society? Young males, that’s who.

    The main thrust of my argument relates to cars, pollution and alcoholism.

    You may consider yourself an “old codger” but I do not consider myself the same. I belong to 2 dance studios containing lots of younger people. I am sometimes pursued by men in their 30s.

    On Friday nights, I go into Fortitude Valley (central Brisbane) to dance. Walking back to Brunswick Street Station alone now seems to be relatively safe. Everywhere there are police officers, security guards, and nightclub bouncers who look as if they could easily crack 10 heads at once. This bird flew past them at lightning speed, ruffling a few feathers in the process.

    We have a terrible problem with alcoholism and drink driving in this country. So far this year, there have been hundreds of glassing attacks which have left young people’s faces disfigured. Some have even gone blind.

    If the government wanted to save money on prison terms, it would make alcohol far less affordable. Politicians should forget about targetting alcopops and apply huge taxes to alcoholic beverages across the board.

    If the government wants to clean up the environment and minimise deaths from traffic accidents, it should probably do as a representative from a motoring association suggested recently – push the price of fuel to $2.50 a litre.

    If politicians used their heads, they would probably find a way of killing several birds with only a couple of stones.

    If you can get the people onto public transport, there might be huge savings on building tunnels, bridges and motorways, along with general road maintenance.

  11. Lorikeet- I was just pointing out that your informant was wrong – that not all, but only half of young Singaporeans are liable for conscription. Not at all sure that you are right about young males causing most problems in society but if that were true, what good do you think putting them in the Armed Forces would do them? or us? The Army (to use a general term) is not a school. They train people, yes, but people who have already met a minimum standard … they do not want the illiterate, the mentally ill, the institutionalised, those with learning difficulties including those who simply cannot achieve even Year 10 levels of education. Those are the people who have created problems of the kind that land people in jail. How exactly will conscripting them help them or us?

    I’m not sure I agree with you that they create the worst problems in our society though … what about white collar criminals, such as those who falsify records to enable environmeltal damage to go unnoticed, or who try to get away with foisting on us unsafe or ineffectve drugs? What about those who have neglected/killed the Murray River? (Few of these would be young males, I’d say.) What about shoddy builders who get around standards and leave people with huge mortgages to pay on poor quality houses? What about large companies who force small firms to go under, or who squeeze their suppliers till the pips squeak? What about pedophiles – ever done an age breakdown on them? Perhaps we shuld conscript pedophiles – make proper men of tem? If it woudl cure illiteracy or mental illness, surely it would cure pedophilia?

  12. Theres none so intolerant than the omniscient aged – Dolphin. No doubt Lorikeet would heartily approve of the following.

    “The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of
    today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for
    parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as
    if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is
    foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest
    and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.”

    Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274

  13. I’m really not sure how we got onto National Service from PARKing day. I’m annoyed that I didn’t know about it until it was too late to go and see any of the ideas. Hopefully I’ll remember next year.

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