PHOTOS: International Park(ing) Day transforms Memphis parking spaces into parks and public spaces

On Friday, Sept. 16, the parking spaces in front of the Cash Saver grocery store on Madison Avenue became the site for International Park(ing) Day.

According to their website, “Parking Day is a global, public participatory event where people across the world temporarily repurpose curbside parking and metered parking spaces into tiny parks, places of art, play areas, and spaces to advocate for safer, greener, and more people- and family-friendly walkways.” It was organized locally by the nonprofit.

Not only are these created spaces eco-friendly, but they are also great places to congregate with family friends and neighbors. I was really impressed with how each organization was in one accord when it came to thinking about how we develop and repurpose our street spaces moving forward in Memphis. 

There was so much buzz and excitement in the atmosphere on that day; family, friends, neighbors, organizations, and businesses all gathering for a common purpose.

It felt more like a family reunion than a day of advocacy. I didn’t meet one stranger amidst the beautiful greenery and booths.

What became clear to me is this: as we spend time, effort, and money on building up our downtown areas, we also need to take care of the edges of our neighborhoods and communities.

On International Park(ing) Day, they all waved the same banner. This is how we want our empty spaces and streets to look and feel: safe and beautiful.

Thanks to the many vendors that helped me to understand what this day and event was all about.

I echo the same sentiment, that we need spaces like this across our whole city. Imagine a marketplace full of families and neighbors coming together and learning about one another and sharing stories and ideals, simply by walking down the street.

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