2018 Park(ing) Day in Boise, Idaho can be called a success!

With 9 parklets in 6 locations around the city, we had more than twice as many parklets than ever before and 5 new locations including two strip mall parking lots supported by a National Street Service grant. Parklets at Vista Village and the Collister Shopping Center were the main focus of the grant, aimed at re-imagining shopping center parking spaces as community gathering places.

Parklets dotted Boise’s landscape with locations including: Vista Village, Collister Shopping Center, the North End, and downtown locations at DL Evans Bank (9th and Main), along 8th Street and outside City Hall (Main and Capitol). Stakeholders across different backgrounds spearheaded these efforts with parklets created by Idaho Walk Bike Alliance, American Heart Association, Ada County Highway District’s Commuteride, D.L. Evans Bank, Stack Rock Group, the city of Boise’s Energize Our Neighborhoods, Vista Healthy Corridor, North End Neighborhood and Collister Neighborhood.

In a story from the Idaho Business Review about the event, Deanna explained the vision,

[Parklets are] just one more way to rethink our streets. Our streets are a very important asset, and we’re not getting all we want our of our streets.

The article continues with a quote from the original PARK(ing) Day manual,

Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape, and realize that converting small segments of the automobile infrastructure – even temporarily – can alter the character of the city.

What we learned:

  • Partners are important
  • Location matters – especially in a parking lot
  • Get an earlier start to get the word out and alert the media
  • Give something away
  • Parking lots have their own set of challenges
  • Materials available for loan removed a barrier to doing a parklet
  • Parklets or other pop-ups can be educational but only second to fun

How we measured our impact:

  • 62 ice cream scoops given to those visiting the Collister parklet and completing a comment card
  • We gained new partners in the community
  • We shared education about how to do a parklet
  • We emptied our storage unit of loaned parklet items
  • Parklet organizers reported positive feedback from the public
  • Parklets were features in articles in Idaho Business Review and Boise Weekly
  • Parklets moved beyond Boise as well. ASLA highlighted parklets around the region.

What happens next?

The city of Boise is working towards creating a pop-up park policy to make the process easier and more streamlined for future events. As we work towards a pop-up park policy with the city and ACHD, the more people engaged, the more demand for changing policy!

Boise is in its infancy when it comes to tactical urbanism, but Idaho Smart Growth will continue to help the movement grow by encouraging more people to use pop-ups to activate our streets.

We want the public to see such use of our streets as an everyday occurrence, not just something that happens on park(ing) day. We don’t want people asking, “What’s this event?” we want people to say, “Check out the new pop-up park. Let’s go hang out over there!”

Take a look at all the great photos from events around Boise on our Facebook page!