Cork will once again take part in the international PARK(ing) Day event this Friday September 20th where artists, designers and citizens will transform paid parking spots into temporary public parks. The pop-up parklets are set to appear across various city locations (Douglas St, South Mall, North Main St and Western Rd) as well as Cobh, Clonakilty and Fermoy.
Since its inception in 2005, the concept has blossomed into a global experiment in remixing, reclaiming and reprogramming vehicular space for social exchange, recreation and artistic expression. The project now occurs annually in hundreds of cities across dozens of countries on every continent.
Coordinated by Cork Transport and Mobility Forum, Cork City and County Councils, PARK(ing) day is also supported by Healthy Ireland and the Cork Age Friendly Programme .
PARK(ing) Day is intended to promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, generosity and play. O’Donovans hotel in Clonakilty, who have been involved in previous years, will again create their fabulous bicycle themed parklet. Cobh’s newest and much loved Seasalt Café are collaborating with Cobh Allotments and local fitness guru Trevor Cummins (Train With Trevor) to celebrate health and wellness at their parklet directly in front of their premises.
In North Cork there will be parklets in Fermoy and Mitchelstown. Mitchelstown Business Association’s member Claudia Matassa will be creating a parklet outside her premises (Pizza House) on Lower Cork street. Grainne O’Connor (Crayon Creative and Fermoy Forum) will be using her design flair to create a Gnome themed parklet entitled ‘Gnomansland’ which will be located on the main street across from Centra.
In Cork city, the Health Promotion Unit of HSE on the Western Road will again be providing a welcome haven to rest and relax. A visit to Douglas Street is an absolute must with 2 parklets, outside Bia Blasta and at The People’s Parklet where there will be a flower arranging demo at 4.00pm as part of Culture Night. The Imperial Hotel gets into the spirit of PARK(ing) Day with cafe customers enjoying the sunshine on South Mall while having their brew and scones. A new addition this year is North Main St where the traders are collaborating with the management of the Vision Centre to create a lively pop up Parklet on the day.
This event is part of a larger discussion and rethinking of urban spaces to be designed principally for people, not cars. Many cities around the world are embracing car free centres and seeing the benefits to citizen health and wellbeing as well as increased footfall for businesses as more people are attracted to linger in these vibrant, safe and healthy public spaces. As well as improving air quality, less cars will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help people switch to more sustainable modes of transport.
Follow the conversation on twitter at #CorkParkingDay