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Park Day LA will hit the streets

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Tired of the same ol’ concrete and asphalt scenery during your morning commute? You’re in luck. Pockets of nature and leisure will spring up amid L.A.’s collection of buildings and bustling streets on Friday as part of Park[ing] Day LA.

The one-day event, now in its third year, transforms metered parking spots into temporary public parks with the help of artists, designers and activists involved in issues such as affordable housing and creating urban farmland. The oasis-making volunteers occupy a parking spot, feed the meter and convert gum-stained pavements into a lush patch of relaxation.

Last year more than 70 pseudo-parks popped up throughout L.A. Each offered its own take on the park-ish atmosphere -- grassy knolls with wood benches, kiddie pools, even neatly lined rows of sunflowers. The Park[ing] possibilities were bountiful.

Park[ing] Day originated in 2005 in San Francisco; Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design collective, revamped a metered parking spot into a mini-park to make a public comment on what it considered a lack of quality open space in American cities. That spawned the global event, which is “intended to promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, generosity and play,” according to the main website.

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Hundreds of Park[ing] spaces around the world — including in cities in Chile, New Zealand, Italy and South Korea — are expected to be altered this year. L.A. is no exception.

So drivers beware: If parking was already hard to find in L.A., it will only be that much harder Friday.

— Yvonne Villarreal


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