Photo By: Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Passerelle Investment Co. plans to redesign three parking spaces along State Street in downtown Los Altos as a temporary parklike installation for PARK(ing) Day 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.
“The intent behind pop-up retail and fun community events is to draw more people downtown,” said Brooke Ray Smith, planning analyst at Passerelle.
Although such events support local businesses, Smith said, they also strengthen community and enhance the city’s civic identity and charm.
The asphalt pavement in front of Peet’s Coffee & Tea and the adjacent bike shop will morph into a green oasis as part of the inaugural PARK(ing) Day.
Passerelle will install a bed of recycled nontoxic turf and furnish the area with potted plants, furniture and modular planter walls that also serve as chalkboards and surfaces for magnetic art. The exhibit incorporates bike racks and a “Fixit” station where cyclists can repair their bikes at no charge. Live music, art and a silent auction benefiting the World Bicycle Relief Effort will close out the evening at 8 p.m.
To measure the community’s response, Passerelle will collect data from those who visit the minipark and interview merchants along both sides of State Street to see if the pop-up event made an impact.
After viewing a PARK(ing) Day in San Francisco, Smith said Passerelle was inspired to bring the installation to Los Altos. The Los Altos setup will test innovative design concepts for public gathering spaces and explore how additional bike parking can be incorporated into the downtown landscape, she added.
“A PARK(ing) Day installation is a great opportunity to try out these ideas in a pop-up form, meaning it’s only temporary and we can gather lots of data on whether or not this kind of thing is helpful to the downtown as a whole,” Smith said.
Bay Area businesses donated many of the design services and materials for the event. Smith said volunteers are invited to join Pete Moffat Construction Inc. before the break of dawn to assemble the modular planter walls.
This week’s installation may seem familiar, as Passerelle sponsored a pop-up plaza in June for the Stride & Ride Festival. During the event, a bed of turf and covered canopies replaced 18 parking spaces in Parking Plaza 4. Modern furniture and tables enabled participants to relax and gather with others.
Originated by San Francisco’s Rebar design firm in 2005 as an experiment to transform underused parking spaces into temporary parklets – small urban parks – PARK(ing) Day has grown into a global movement demonstrating the possibilities that exist for creating more green, engaging and sustainable public spaces. On PARK(ing) Day in 2011, more than 975 parklets were created in 162 cities on six continents.
For more information, visit parkingday.org.