By Ziggy Edwards
king space in your neighborhood if it wasn’t needed for a vehicle? The Park(ing) Day movement encourages communities around the world to imagine the possibilities.
As part of the annual event on September 16, Greenfield Livable Streets, a bike, pedestrian, and transit access advocacy organization, took over one parking space at 791 Hazelwood Avenue in front of My Deli Your Market. Volunteers put out chairs, set up tents with colorful decorations, and offered activities like Jenga. A whiteboard invited visitors to suggest street-level improvements in the neighborhood.
The annual event encourages communities to reimagine the use of curbside parking spaces. This year marked Greenfield’s first Park(ing) Day installation. The community group hoped to draw attention to the need for traffic calming on Hazelwood Avenue.
Catherine Adams, a Greenfield Livable Streets member who lives on Hazelwood Avenue, has seen traffic accidents on her street. Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, known as DOMI, has said traffic calming on Hazelwood Avenue is not a priority.
“Some folks have been living here under these conditions for decades,” said Ms. Adams said. “I hope an event like Park(ing) Day inspires people to organize. I'm here, I'm doing it, but we all need to work together to show city council and DOMI how serious the problem is.”
While Ms. Adams and I talked, a turning vehicle clipped a minivan parked next to the installation. The busy street had slower-moving traffic than usual because it was being used as a detour around construction on Route 837 in Homestead. Some motorists watched the festive Park(ing) Day scene as they inched along.
Mackenzie Rasul, who runs My Deli Your Market with her husband Mo, parked a chest freezer outside and sold water ice for the occasion. The frozen, sugary treat, apparently a staple of eastern Pennsylvania/Delaware summers, is creamier than a snow cone and lighter than sorbet.
Several neighbors stopped by, including Teri Myers and her young grandson. Ms. Myers said her daughter had told her about the event, and that she wanted to check it out because of the activities for children. She said she liked the idea of making streets and intersections “more friendly for Greenfielders.”
Ms. Adams pointed out that there are many ways communities like Greenfield can advocate for their safety needs. “It doesn't have to be all meetings and emails. It can also be through fun and creative events, like this,” she said.
In addition to the Greenfield event, three Lawrenceville organizations hosted a Park(ing) Day event at Butler and Main streets: Better Streets Lawrenceville, Lawrenceville United, and Lawrenceville Corporation. And in Oakland, the Center for Creativity and other University of Pittsburgh partners held a Pitt Park(ing) Day event on campus.
Ziggy Edwards is a regular contributor to The Homepage.