You can walk down 2nd Avenue South in Pepper Place any day during normal business hours and find it lined with cars that belong the people who work and shop here.
Had you walked down 2nd Avenue on September 15th, however, you would have noticed one parking space between 28th and 29th Streets carpeted with lush, green grass, bordered with potted crotons and mums brimming with splashes of vibrant color, folks lounging in the shade on wicker couches, and a rousing game of cornhole.
All of this within the 8×16 confines of a parking space.
This was Birmingham’s inaugural contribution to Parking Day—a national event put on by the American Society of Landscape Architects that’s designed to show the value of green space in the urban environment. Organized by the Birmingham and Huntsville chapters of the ASLA, Birmingham’s Parking Day was put together by Goodwyn Mills and Cawood, Nimrod Long, and Greenspace from Birmingham, and Bostick Landscape Architects from Huntsville.
Parking Day started in San Francisco when a landscape architecture firm found a parking space, threw down some turf, and fed the meter all day long to show how nice it can be when you move cars out and put people in those spaces. It grew from there until the ASLA took Parking Day national several years ago.
According to Chad Bostick of Bostick Landscape Architects and member of the ASLA’s executive committee, “A park doesn’t have to be on the scale of Central Park or even Railroad Park. Pocket parks can provide a reprieve from the hustle and bustle in a really small area. Quickly done, you can find a nice respite in a really small space.”
When asked whether they chose Pepper Place because of the free parking, the members of the ASLA laughed. “We had a great opportunity with Pepper Place and the city of Birmingham.”