Parking Day ‘Reclaims’ Downtown Outdoor Spaces
Fun In The Sun
If you’ve ever wanted to play Yahtzee on the street or sit on a couch while traffic passes by, downtown Jamestown was where you wanted to be Friday.
The city of Jamestown for the first time participated in Parking Day, which is an annual event that encourages landscape architects, community members, businesses and students to transform metered parking spaces into temporary parklets. Crystal Surdyk, city development director, spearheaded the city’s Parking Day, which was kept at a modest level seeing it was the first time the city was participating in the international event. She said the annual event was started in San Francisco in 2005. She had participated in Parking Days events before in Buffalo.
“It’s about reclaiming the parking spaces for people,” she said. “It’s about re-examining how our streets are used. We have a good amount of parking with the on-street parking and the parking ramps, so we can use parking spaces as people spaces too.”
Surdyk said Parking Day correlates with the parklet concept, which city officials approved earlier this year to allow businesses to build platforms on parking spaces outside of their business location to expand their capacity outside, which is important now for restaurants and bars as indoor seating capacity has been reduced since reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a chance for local businesses to rethink how to serve their customers,” Surdyk said. “It gives them an option to expand their capacity.”
Surdyk said the city Development Department partnered with the Jamestown Renaissance Corp. to host the first Parking Day in the city. She said it was a last minute idea, with city officials only starting to contact downtown businesses last week about the event.
“Maybe next year, with more time, we can make it a whole phenomenon,” she said. “It’s a fun and kind of crazy.”
At the city Development Department Parking Day spot along East Third Street, people could play larger versions of household games like Yahtzee and Jinga. They also had cornhole boards set up as well.
“It’s a way for people to get creative,” Surdyk said. “I’m excited to see the city get creative to go outside.”
Other Parking Day participating included the Jamestown Public Market Mobile Market, Fringe Hair and ERA Team VP Real Estate. Samantha Cooley, Fringe Hair owner, said the on-street parking space, where she had chairs, a table and a couch setup, is a creative way for her to advertise her business, located at 23 E. Third St., Jamestown.
“It sounded really fun,” she said. “People have been stopping by and I can promote my business.”
Also at the same location, ERA Team VP Real Estate also had a Parking Day setup where Taylor Scott, ERA Team VP Real Estate agent, was able to promote the real estate services she provides.
“We like to be engaged in what is happening downtown,” she said. “I like the idea of utilizing more space downtown. I think it promotes the downtown. It’s getting people to slow down and take a look at what’s downtown.”