Event turns parking spaces into parks

Published On: Jan 14 2013 07:43:26 AM HST

The City Beautiful wants the public's help to keep it that way.

Going green means cutting traffic, carpooling, using mass transit and bike trails and on Friday the city was trading spaces -- turning parking spots into parks.

There is not much green space in downtown Orlando and because the city would like to see less of a need for parking meters. Some people spent the day decorating a parking space along Orange Avenue.

The concepts were as diverse as the company volunteers who pitched in to use stark visuals to make a difference -- a book exchange to make one think harder about leaving the car at home and using mass transit; a campsite complete with canoe, tent and fire pit; and a wilderness outpost for bike riders that might be found along a scenic trail.

Creative Village took the concept another step farther and turned a clunker into floral art.

"So this idea (is) that there are remnants of what was there in the past and that now it is transformed into an open space," Jefre Manuel of Creative Village LLC said.

Mayor Buddy Dyer said the One Less Car, One More Park campaign is aimed at getting people moving differently.

"Walking, biking, carpooling, public transit, and when you do that you save money," said Dyer. "You reduce congestion and you reduce pollution."

The winner of the first-ever voter's choice award, a rusty parking meter-turned-planter, went to Esciences, the ecological engineering firm for its garden featuring a waterfall.

"We like promoting green space design for our firm which includes architectural landscape design," said ESciences spokeswoman Carolyn Foster. "So for us to be able to design a green space where we normally see a parking space is pretty awesome."

The mayor ultimately hopes that if people spend one day a week not driving but instead taking mass transit, biking, walking or carpooling to work, that's a pretty smart goal.