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The Daily Wildcat

61° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Parking given new twist

Plants, bikes, yoga mats and other “”green”” things replaced the cars usually occupying parking spots on Friday.

Tucson’s third annual PARK(ing) Day allowed people to turn parking spaces into public spaces — this year spots were available on University Boulevard, Fourth Avenue and other downtown areas.

PARK(ing) Day is an international event aimed to create awareness about urban sprawl and the need for public space.

“”(The event is) just to make people aware of driving and all the space that parking spaces take up,”” said Teresa Vasquez, downtown planner for the Downtown Tucson Partnership. Tucson had “”one of the highest levels of public participation in the world,”” according to a press release for the event, as there were more than 80 parking spots were transformed for the event last year. Vasquez said more than 20 organizations reserved parking spots this year. Graduate students from the UA chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects stood in their parking spot on University Boulevard and yelled, “”Gardens on the go! Free plants for your bike!””

Their spot was decorated with plants growing in shoes and tires, as well as an “”Italian bike”” that included all the herbs needed to make tomato sauce.

“”Everything we’ve put together we’ve pretty much reused,”” said Becky Blacher, a landscape architecture graduate student.

The students handed out small pots of octopus agave that could be attached to bicycles.

“”Most people have quirky smiles as they go by,”” Blacher said of passing cyclists.

Lee Streitz, a landscape architecture graduate student, said the club aimed to show people how much land is used for parking.

“”We spend so much of our time learning about urban sprawl,”” Streitz said of his UA landscape classes.

Members of the Acro Yogis, a self-titled group of yoga practitioners, turned their parking spot on Fourth Avenue into a practice area. The spot was covered in yoga mats and carpet and was surrounded by potted plants. Yogis practiced their moves, which combine acrobatics with yoga, and allowed community members to join.

“”We just made this space to practice. We normally practice in public parks,”” said Leanne Rogers, who practices acro yoga.

Rogers said the spot was designed to share their practice “”and also to make a statement about being more green and the feasibility of recreating a space.””

Campus and community organizations also used PARK(ing) Day to advertise their programs.

The Campus Health Service’s OASIS Program used their space outside of Espresso Art Café to hand out fliers and brochures.

“”There’s a lot of student traffic and definitely a lot of people coming by,”” said Karen Johnston, a business management junior and student worker at the Oasis Program. “”People expect to see you on the Mall. This is kind of a cool way to reach out.””

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