|A Salem parklet with picnic table, hobby horse, and potential for fun|
transformed a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in an area of San Francisco that the city had designated as lacking public open space. The great majority of San Francisco’s downtown outdoor space is dedicated to movement and storage of private vehicles, while only a fraction of that space is allocated to serve a broader range of public needs. Paying the meter of a parking space enables one to lease precious urban real estate on a short-term basis.In Salem, acceptance for repurposing car parking stalls has been slow. One First Wednesday attempt was shut down by the City. Creative merchants have put grass on the sidewalk, but not ventured out into the street and its angle parking. (Portland observes Park(ing) Day in several places.)
You might not know, however, that the word "parking" used to refer to the act of making a park and the parklets themselves, and not primarily to the act of temporarily storing a car.
|This was not considered "Parking"! Oregon State Library|
(That's Scott's Cycle first store on the far left, at 252 State Street)
|Beautify the Parkings: September 19, 1910|
|Our Wide Streets offer Abundant Room for Parking|
Editorial: June 27, 1913
|Potatoes make Good Parking! June 22, 1914|
Venerable Honeysuckle at Union and Cottage
could date from this era of beautification.
|Arrested! First mention of car parking in Salem? |
August 3, 1914
|Nov 23, 1905|
At the end of 1905 the paper could write:
"The question of parking the streets in the residence districts as has been frequently advocated by The Journal has not been left to die..."
The concept burbled along, most frequently in the context of "beautification" and "the City Beautiful" and as an accessory to permanent pavement, as the roads were mud or occasionally graveled at this time:
A few suggestions as to what can be done to reach far out toward the making of our city the city beautiful, the price and joy of all our people.
The first work that lies before us in the accomplishment of this good and necessary work of civic improvement is building good streets..
|March 14, 1911|
be opened full width to Eighteenth street. There is a plan being talked up among some of the abutters for a 20-foot parking in the center of the street, with a 20-foot drive on each side of bitulithic [early asphalt].Wouldn't it be great to have a 20-foot landscaped median on our wider streets?!
If this reminds you of some of the ideas for the downtown streetscape (more here and here) - well, it should!
|Arbuckle Costic and Salem Downtown Partnership|
|Downtown Streetscaping Concept via Salem Weekly|
Interestingly, the decade of the 1920s when the word "parking" underwent a shift to signify car storage was the same time the notion of "jaywalking" was invented and the previously normal act of walking in the street either shamed or criminalized.
|The shift in word "parking" corresponds to invention of jaywalking|
Fortunately, there are ways that public space is being returned to a wider range of uses by people!
|Same part of State Street during Sunday Streets on the 8th|
(Yup, that empty lot is where the first Scott's was!
The Catlin and Linn building is in both images as well.)
|Parklet for Parking: 172% increase in retail sales!|
Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets
New York City Department of Transportation