SEPTA Encourages Citizens to Enjoy More PARK(ing)

September 23, 2013

Manuel McDonnell Smith
Public Information Manager

The number of parks throughout Philadelphia increases dramatically each year on one day in September, when activists, artists, architects and citizens transform metered parking spaces into temporary public parks. Known as Park(ing) Day, the annual event hosted in over 160 cities worldwide re-imagines the possibilities of 170 square feet of public space. "The event celebrates parks and other public spaces and raises awareness of the need for more pedestrian-friendly spaces in our urban areas", shared SEPTA's Marketing Director Elizabeth Bradford.

In under an hour, Bradford and a group of SEPTA Volunteers transformed parking spaces on a portion of the south side of the 1600 Block of JFK Boulevard into a grass-covered play space featuring flowers, toys, balloons, "SEPTA+Sustainability" information, and even magnetic takeaways for seven magical hours.. Many workers from nearby offices along with families exiting nearby Suburban Station were surprised by the pleasant pop-up park provides by our team. In fact, the park was a collaboration of many departments here at SEPTA including Planning, Real Estate, Sales, and Marketing.

SEPTA's PARK(ing) Day space was at 1700 JFK Boulevard in Center City

"Too many folks seemed overly-focused on the quantity of PARKs, and we'd like to shift the discussion toward the quality of urban public space", stated the organizers of the global event when sharing their vision for the message they wanted to convey with the program. With smiles all around from those who came by SEPTA's park to participate, it seems that their effort to amaze and delight was a success.

In addition to SEPTA's pop-up park, nearly 50 other agencies populated their own temporary parks all around Philadelphia, with most of them concentrated in Center City. This was SEPTA's fifth year participating in the event, which was started in San Francisco back in 2005. Philadelphia first celebrated PARK(ing) Day for the first time in 2008. This year's effort was sponsored locally by AIA Philadelphia and organized by Zimmerman Studio, LLC, in partnership with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). The event was also supported in large part by the Philadelphia Parking Authority which also waived the need to pay for the parking spots for the day.

A Worker Installs Grass at a Temporary Park (Courtesy: PARK(ing) Day)