Paved Paradise: Spaces For Cars Converted to Micro-parks Across Boise for National PARK(ing) Day 

click to enlarge One of our favorite things to do in the micro-parks on National PARK(ing) Day: Read Boise Weekly.

Harrison Berry

One of our favorite things to do in the micro-parks on National PARK(ing) Day: Read Boise Weekly.

It was Friday morning, and like a lot of people on Eighth Street in downtown Boise, Nicole Stern was busy unloading items in front of one of the restaurants that line the trendy downtown corridor. Unlike the workers hauling food or machinery, however, Stern was filling one of the coveted parking spaces with items from Franz Witte nursery.

Stern, a marketing and outreach coordinator for Ada County Highway District Commuteride, said she was creating "a fall park area" in order to show Boiseans what they could do with the extra space parking currently takes up.

Across Boise, other people were doing the same, setting up micro-parks in parking spaces as part of National PARK(ing) Day. In the City of Trees, volunteers created eight parks across downtown, and in the North End, Collister and Vista neighborhoods. The annual event got its start in 2005 in San Francisco, and since then, other cities have jumped on the bandwagon, partnering with local advocacy organizations and nonprofits to imagine what urban spaces might look like if more people used mass transit, walked or biked.

Boise began participating in National PARK(ing) Day in 2017. This year, the program attracted an array of partners like the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance, Idaho Smart Growth and ACHD. In front of City Hall, Melinda McGoldrick, a program manager for Energize Our Neighborhoods, oversaw a small table holding a station where passers-by could pour themselves cups of coffee and a blackboard on which people had scrawled messages like "Parks > Parking" and "Go Vegan."

The idea, said McGoldrick, is to get people talking about issues related to city streets and consider ways in which they might be different.

"Our goal is to work with residents on a neighborhood level," she said. "This is an opportunity to show people what we could do."
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