By August 6, 2014 Read More →

ArchitectureView – Park(ing) Day

ArchitectureView By Bob Barzan

Reclaiming Urban Space I moved back to Modesto in December 2001 after decades living away in several cities, some much larger and some much smaller than Modesto. One of the first things I noticed when I started my frequent trips downtown was how easy it is to find parking at all hours. To this day, I boast to my friends in San Francisco, Seattle, Palm Springs, and other cities, that I have never had to look for parking in downtown Modesto. Usually, I can park, if not right in front of my destination, at least on the same block. Rarely do I park more than two blocks away unless I have some reason for it. This is in contrast to going to the mall. Often I have to walk the equivalent of 2-3 blocks just to get to the door of the mall, then another 1-2 blocks of walking to get to my destination. And, in my old neighborhood in San Francisco, I considered being within six blocks of my apartment or destination a successful parking spot.

A recent study commissioned by the city of Modesto confirms my experience. There are many parking spaces downtown, in most situations more than we need. Most cities have given too much of their land area in service to cars and minimized areas in service to pedestrians. Park(ing) Day, Friday, September 19, part of next month’s Modesto Architecture Festival, is a world-wide event to draw attention to how we can reclaim some of our street space for the benefit of people. Already, in parts of the design district, three red zones have been converted to two parklets and a bike corral. Expect to see at least 5 or 6 new temporary parklets on J Street for Park(ing) Day and maybe one that will be more long term like the ones at 10th and J.

Every parklet is pubic space and available for everyone’s use regardless of where it is. If you own a business or property on J Street and would like to create a Park(ing) Day parklet in front of your space, please contact me for information about how to participate. It’s easy and it’s fun.

For complete Modesto Architecture Festival information see http://www.modestoarchfest.com/. Bob Barzan, Modesto Art Museum modestoartmuseum@yahoo.com

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