Third Avenue in Chula Vista celebrates Park (ing) Day


For months, the parking spaces on Third Avenue in Chula Vista have served as outdoor dining areas for restaurants and breweries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Passers-by saw more than tables and benches on Friday. Several parking spaces along streets G and E have been transformed into art installations with music, garden furniture and even an educational center.

The new facilities marked Chula Vista’s first year of participation in International Park (ing) Day, an annual event where communities, artists, activists and businesses turn sidewalks into temporary parks or public spaces for anyone to see. stop and relax, exercise or participate in a variety of activities.

“The hope with Park (ing) Day is to further promote public space as a priority, walking and cycling as a priority and driving as a lower priority. It encourages people to want to live closer to places like this, ”said Chris Stebbins, local urban design specialist and president of the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Stebbins and other chapter members spent Friday morning setting up their own parklet near Third Avenue and Madrona Street. Using wooden planks, artificial grass, plants and tables, the team built a three-part structure. One section would serve as a multipurpose area for yoga or a giant Jenga game. Next to it was a space dedicated to educational discussions on irrigation and landscape architecture. The third area was designed as a “living room, a bistro where people can just relax and unwind,” Stebbins said.

From left to right, Andrew Hatch Casey Jacobs and Brittany Borden help transform parking spaces into parklets in Chula Vista.

(Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Just north of that parklet was an 8 foot sculpture in the middle of a parking spot outside the Art On Third art gallery. The installation has caught the attention of many pedestrians and motorists, some curious and others who have said they are not happy with the decrease in storefront parking spaces available.

“It does what it was meant to be,” said Rich Walker, owner of Art On Third, pointing to his large sculpture. “It makes people stop and see and the hope is to get more people here.”

Walker said he has attended four other annual Park (ing) Day events, including in San Diego, and is delighted that Chula Vista is joining the international celebration.

After the pandemic canceled several events and inspired the creation of COVID-19 parklets and streeteries, the Third Avenue Village Association of Chula Vista saw the event as an opportunity to bring more activity to a busy street. has been transformed into a more pedestrianized area over the years.

“We narrowed the street, created crosswalks to slow down traffic and create a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere. It’s been a great process, but it’s also attracted more pedestrians and it’s a safer environment, ”said Kelly Lannom, Director of the Association.

Rich Walker, owner of Art On Third, said he kept his parklet simple with a sculpture during PARK (ing) Day in Chula Vista.

Rich Walker, owner of Art On Third, said he kept his parklet simple with a sculpture during PARK (ing) Day in Chula Vista.

(Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Stebbins said that San Diego, which has previously attended Park (ing) Day, has focused on its “Spaces as Places” program, which would make outdoor dining in restaurants permanent in exchange for paying a fee. municipal tax. The revenue would be used to widen and beautify the sidewalks to accommodate more pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s a very noble effort,” Stebbins said. “We have had this wonderful connection with all of the business owners here and so we are focusing most of our efforts here at Chula Vista.”

Chula Vista is also striving to retain outdoor dining spaces along Third Avenue for at least a year as part of a newly launched initiative that allows companies to keep their structures as long as they cooperate in creating ‘a more orderly and accessible artery.

Park (ing) Day dates back to 2005 in San Francisco when the Rebar art studio set up a park for two hours in a measured location.

“We started discussing parking spaces in San Francisco and determined that at the rate of curbside meters, a parking space was an incredibly inexpensive piece of San Francisco real estate,” the page read. of the studio event. “By calculating that between 20% and 30% of the area in San Francisco was streets, and that minus the sidewalk, 70% to 80% of that space was devoted to moving and storing vehicles, we started discussing ideas for more useful ways to occupy this precious part of San Francisco’s public domain.

The event has spread to more than 100 cities and dozens of countries over the years and is now celebrated every year on the third Friday in September.


Comments are closed.