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City Hall, Fort Lauderdale Beach Street Spaces Transformed Into Public Parks For PARK(ing) Day

A parking spot directly outside of city hall took on a new look Friday.

The metered parking space was repurposed for Fort Lauderdale’s third annual PARK(ing) Day—a global event that transforms parking spaces into public parks where locals can gather.

The Transportation and Mobility Department was giving away cotton candy, popcorn and goodie bags filled with sunglasses and handheld fans. Passersby enjoyed rounds of jenga, ladder golf and a raffle to win a free parking pass.

The city also held a second PARK(ing) Day event on Fort Lauderdale Beach, where residents enjoyed free snow cones and life-sized tic-tac-toe.

“With our two locations we tried to create a park-like environment where folks can come out and enjoy," said Frank G. Castro, parking services manager for the Transportation and Mobility Department. "We’re trying to make it fun and inviting and get folks out here to interact with parking and understand what parking is all about in the city of Fort Lauderdale."

This year’s PARK(ing) Day also strived to shed light upon the city’s “walkability.”

“We’re trying to promote [a] multimodal [city]. So, we’re looking at all aspects, cycling, pedestrians and how they interact with vehicles and how to create that safe pedestrian walk way and paths throughout the city,” he said. 

The parklet movement began in 2005, when a San Francisco art and design studio converted a single parking space into a public park. The goal was to draw attention to the need for more open public spaces and create a dialogue over how public spaces are allocated. 

Not too long after photos of the parking spot surfaced on the Internet, they went viral. The single parking spot movement eventually turned global with annual events occurring on the third Friday of September. 

Cities all across the country, including local communities such as Hollywood and Miami, joined Fort Lauderdale in celebrating this week. Organizers are hoping to expand the concept in coming years. 

"We’re looking to grow this and make this event a little bigger than what we have right now," Castro said. "We’re looking to the neighborhood and businesses to participate and maybe even create a map that will tell people where the best parklets are."

(Lead photo via Facebook/City of Fort Lauderdale - City News. Photos from city hall by Alyse Mier)