Friday Austinites took to the streets to replace cars with tiny parks for PARKing day. Re-thinking public space -- especially parking space -- plays a role in the city's mission to get more people using buses, bikes and their own two feet.
Some of the prime parking real estate on Congress Avenue was turned into miniature parks or in some cases miniature golf.
"It really brings to light to how much space we actually give to car storage," says Ashley Greenstein, senior planner for the Austin Transportation Department.
By dedicating public space to people instead of parking the city hopes to make transit, walking and biking more appealing.
"As long as we continue to provide free parking, that's an incentive for folks to dive," Greenstein says. For many businesses and employers, free dedicated parking is all but expected. However, some drivers remain skeptical
"Austin has a lack of infrastructure in terms of getting downtown without driving your own car, so getting rid of public parking is probably a bad idea," says Mike Hunter who had a difficult time finding parking downtown Friday.
Some of the parklets offered up refreshing drinks while spreading the word about transit options. Other mini parks showcased friendly competition or a tranquil place to rest outdoors. Come Saturday they'll be back to parking spots, but the message may carry on.
"It's just opening peoples' minds to the fact that these spaces could be used for any number of uses and maybe they could, or they should," says Adam Greenfield, Walk Austin board member.
To learn more about PARKing Day or to participate next year, click here.