Honda. Hummer. Hyundai. Hammock?
Vehicles on the streets of Modesto had some unusual company on Friday. A few downtown parking spaces were temporarily transformed into mini-parks in honor of international PARK(ing) Day.
All were on J Street. One in front of the State Theatre featured lawn chairs, plants, turf and a fence made out of architect blueprint tubes that also doubled as drums. The Serrano Social Club's mini-park featured a hammock and a bike rack. The final park, in front of the new Building Imagination Center, sported log seats.
"I think it's a really good idea," said Kody Moret as he relaxed in the hammock. "I like using this space for something a bit more communal rather than hustle and bustle."
He and Chad Pickrel, a workshop leader at the Building Imagination Center, said many people stopped by the mini-parks and asked questions about the projects. "It was really busy," Pickrel said.
Started in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day is intended to encourage people to rethink the way streets are used.
"In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution," Rebar's Matthew Passmore said in a statement. "The planning strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about reimagining the possibilities of the urban landscape."
The local observance was part of the nine-day Modesto International Architecture Festival, which wraps up Sunday and includes tours, art exhibits, films and speakers. The festival is designed to raise awareness of architecture and the value of architects.
Barrett Lipomi, a member of the American Institute of Architects Sierra Valley chapter, which co-sponsored the festival, said the three mini-parks were a good start for the first year.
"It's stimulated some conversation," he said. "I'd love to do it next year. I would like to get more people involved on J Street."
On the Net: For more on the Modesto International Architecture Festival, visit www.modestoarchfest.com.
Bee arts writer Lisa Millegan Renner can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2313.