Two Weeks + $100 = Pop-up Parklet in Pioneer Square

PARK(ing) Day is a little over a month away, and we want you to get involved!

PARK(ing) Day happens once a year and is an opportunity for Seattleites to temporarily turn on-street parking spaces into public places, called “parklets.” PARK(ing) Day is celebrated every third Friday in September in more than 162 cities (spanning 6 continents) around the world. This international event raises awareness about the importance of a walkable, livable, healthy city and helps people re-think how Seattle streets can be used.

Interested in joining the fun and creating your own parklet this year? Check out the Planning Your Park page to learn how. Applying for a pop-up park is easy and free, and anyone in Seattle can join in on the fun!

For those of you who need a little push, here’s some fodder to get your artistic juices flowing: On July 31, a group of high school students transformed a few Pioneer Square parking spaces into a parklet in just two short weeks! Intrigued? Read on!

The parklet's Buddha Boards in action. Photo: Seth Geiser, 2015.

The parklet’s Buddha Boards in action. Photo: Seth Geiser, 2015.

Student designers of the parklet were all part of the University of Washington’s Introduction to Landscape Architecture Course, a two-week intensive focusing on landscape design. The course was part of the university’s Summer Youth Programs. Students spent week 1 developing designs for potential parklets, and spent week 2 constructing the winning design.

The parklet itself was split into two parts – the northern half included a painting station where parklet patrons were reminded of the concept of impermanence. After paintbrushes were dipped in water and applied to the large Buddha Board, all designs slowly evaporated into the surface. A plaque on the parklet’s NW edge stated that the board allowed patrons to “witness the sobering truth that nothing in life lasts forever.”

Parklet patrons enjoying the shady seating. Photo: Seth Geiser, 2015.

Parklet patrons enjoying the shady seating. Photo: Seth Geiser, 2015.

The southern half of the parklet included a number of potted plants nestled between the eastern edge of the parklet and its long, expansive benches. The seating was in high demand for the duration of the parklet, which was up from 11 AM to 2 PM.

Made from recycled and donated materials like wood pallets, the only purchased parklet supply was cinder blocks used to boost the benches and tables made from salvaged wood. The end cost? $100.

As the parklet was taken down, cars began to re-associate themselves with 266 square feet of asphalt. As the transition occurred, the students, parents and parklet users saw just how quickly – and cheaply – a public space can be transformed.

A plaque located at the northern half of the July 31 parklet. Photo: Seth Geiser, 2015.

A plaque located at the northern half of the July 31 parklet. Photo: Seth Geiser, 2015.

Join us September 18 and create a bit park space of your own design! PARK[ing] Day Applications are available at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/Parkingdayapplication_Form.pdf and are due by August 28.

For specific questions, contact David Burgesser at david.burgesser@seattle.gov or 206-615-1028.