By: Jonathan Crain
ASLA, REV Birmingham, the City of Birmingham and CCDMC are bringing the international celebration of people focused public spaces known as Park(ing) Day back to 20th Street North this Friday, Sept. 18. If you’re wondering what Park(ing) day is, or where it came from, check out our blog post about Park(ing) Day history.
This year’s event is an even more focused and ambitious design that builds off of the momentum created by last year’s installation. Here’s what you can expect to find on the eastern side of 20th St N between 2nd Ave N and Forstall Art Supply this Friday.
- Fresh Landscaping – For Park(ing) day we’re testing out a new look and feel for the planted space along 20th street. A focus on native and low maintenance plants should keep the beds and planters looking great year-round. The new planting plan also plays off the types of species found in other popular Birmingham public spaces like Railroad Park and Rotary Trail to give all of downtown a cohesive look and feel.
- Flexible Use Seating – One core tenant of Park(ing) Day is creating opportunities for people to enjoy a public space. We’re adding moveable café tables and chairs that can be a great place for a cup of coffee, a game of chess, or some work on a laptop. We’ve gone with movable furniture because people feel more comfortable when they can scoot their chair into that perfect spot to get them out of the shade, or lean in for a closer conversation.
Park(ing) Day Progress
- Reclaimed Pedestrian Space – We’ve used limestone infill to bring the curb cut up to sidewalk height, in essence extending the sidewalk space for people. This new space can adapt to pedestrian needs, like expanded outdoor seating during the Covid-19 crisis, but the most important thing is that it’s giving space back to people.
- Multi-Modal Street Design – The right lane of 20th Street has been temporarily designated as a flex zone, meaning it can adapt to different uses and needs: loading zone, valet parking or even parking a food truck. Between the flex lane and the travel lane, a new bike/scooter lane gives people more ways to enjoy the new 20th Street. The flex zone and multimodal lane also further separate pedestrians from traffic, improving safety and elevating the atmosphere for everyone on 20th Street.
We would love to see YOU at Park(ing) Day on Friday. Come find out how awesome a pedestrian-oriented street can be, and give us your feedback on all the new design elements that we’re testing.
REV would like to thank Hunter Trees, Vulcan Materials, Alabama Outdoors, B&G Equipment and Supply, Fermob, and Shelby General Contractors for helping us make this project happen.
It all started in 2005 when three urban designers went looking for “unscripted fragments” of space in San Francisco that could be used in a fun and engaging way.