Turning Parking Spaces Into Park(ing) Day

By Brianna Rhodes / Sep 21, 2023 / Updated Oct 4, 2023

A girl on a bicycle that makes smoothies and people posing in a both

Above: (Left) An International Park(ing) Day participant pedals her way to a tropical smoothie on the DOTS Smoothie Bike in front of the SustainableUMD photo booth. Photo: Aysha Ruya Cohen. (Right) Assistant Professor Ariel Bierbaum poses with a participant and their favorite transit memes at the Purple Line Photo Booth. Photo: Maura Dwyer.

As summer comes to a close and fall peaks ahead, UMD students, faculty, staff and visitors enjoyed the last bit of sunny, warm skies outside for International Park(ing) Day 2023 last Friday. 

International Park(ing) Day is a global art project where people worldwide reimagine curbside parking spaces and convert them into public parks and social spaces to advocate for safer, greener, and more equitable streets.

This year, SustainableUMD, the Department of Transportation Services (DOTS), Terps for Bike Lanes, the Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture (SASLA) and MAPP students transformed five parking spaces across from the Clarice Performing Arts Center to reclaim the street for shared public use.

The day offered Terps the opportunity to mix, mingle and share ideas about ways to move away from car culture and towards a healthier environment.

Urban planning student leadership organization, Student Planning Association (SPA), led a cross-disciplinary installation that explored how public transit can lead us to a more carbon-free future.

"SPA had a great time at the second annual Park(ing) Day chatting with staff and students about the role of cars and parking in transit planning and how to reduce our reliance on car culture," said Maura Dwyer, the treasurer of SPA and a graduate assistant for the Small Business Anti-Displacement Network (SBAN).

"We dug into the nuances of how alternatives like light rail and transit-oriented development (TOD) can bring massive economic change to station-based neighborhoods," Dwyer added. "Policies and planning must be in place to ensure those whom the light rail is built to serve can stay nearby and take advantage of its service. Thanks to Purple Line Corridor Coalition for all your research on this issue!"

Take a look at our International Park(ing) Day photo essay below:

Students smiling while holding printed memes and other students sitting in a booth
Left: SustainableUMD and the DOTS Sustainability Team pose with transit memes at the SPA Purple Line photo booth on International Park(ing) Day. Photo: Maura Dwyer. Right: SPA students gather around an urban planning-themed library, including The High Cost of Free Parking, the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide and other popular titles.


Honey sticks and drawn crosswalk with chalk
Left: Clover and raspberry-flavored honey sticks on sale at International Park(ing) Day. Right: A display of a bugs, plants and landscape trivia game at International Park(ing) Day 2023. Photos: Aysha Ruya Cohen.


Guy on a bicycle by a booth
The DOTS Sustainability Team and SustainableUMD start setting up the DOTS Smoothie Bike and SustainableUMD Outreach Bike advice booth for International Park(ing) Day. Photo: Aysha Ruya Cohen. 


People at a booth and others sitting by a chalk sign on the ground that reads: Bee-sy Streets
Left:  International Park(ing) Day participants and attendees mix and mingle. Right: Students from the Landscape Architecture (LARC) program sit under a tent to promote “Bee-sy Streets.” Photos: Aysha Ruya Cohen.


View more photos from Park(ing) Day in our Flickr Album.

Program / Center Affiliation