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Parking Spaces To Turn Green On PARK(ing) Day

A Chicago parking pay and display box (Helen Marshall/WBBM Photo)

A Chicago parking pay and display box (Helen Marshall/WBBM Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — This is PARK(ing) Day, a worldwide effort to turn some street parking spaces into temporary parks in order to reclaim public space.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, the philosophy is straightforward.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports


“There’s space on the street for rent. You pay the meter – you’re renting the space to store your automobile there,” said Matt Nardella, principal architect of Moss Design, who is organizing PARK(ing) Day on Southport Avenue. “We feel like there are some better uses.”

Nardella thinks the better use is for people rather than cars.

“We pay the parking meter for the day, and roll out a park,” he said.

The cost of reserving the spaces isn’t tremendous.

“At that particular location it’s a dollar an hour I want to say,” Nardella said. “So over eight hours times four spaces, we end up paying about 30 bucks.”

The park has plants, and sometimes a lawn. This year, live music and bike repair will be featured, all in place of a parking space, or several.

“It’s really based on how many we can grab in the morning and how big we can spread out,” Nardella said, “because obviously we have to compete with cars that might be parked there.”

Nardella knows his group could just go to a park – for free. But they want to show there’s a need for more open, public space.

“We’d definitely like to incorporate some more games next year – things that are more linear,” he said. “We thought about badminton, but something about shuttlecocks landing in the middle of Southport doesn’t sound safe to me.”

Nardella and his group will be in front of the Southport Grocery and Café, at 3552 N. Southport Ave. in the Lakeview neighborhood, which is participating in the PARK(ing) Day along with Moss Design. PARK(ing) Day runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

Other mini-parks will be set up in front of Revolution Brewing, at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Logan Square neighborhood; Buttercup Playlot in Edgewater, and around the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.