Online panels discussed the long-term benefits and ongoing work to bring equity to our streets on Sept. 18, 2020 to mark the annual, international PARK(ing) Day. Downtown On the Go was joined by community members and experts to talk about how we use our streets and open space and ultimately, how we can do better in including the community and creating people-centered spaces that allow all people to be safe. The goal of PARK(ing) Day is to “call attention to the need for more urban open space, generate discussion and debate around how public space is utilized, and to improve the quality of urban habitat.” Listen at the links below!
What is PARK(ing) Day and why does it matter? PARK(ing) Day is now nearly 15 years old – what is it and why do we keep doing it? How can we make changes in the right of way through the year and what policy changes are needed to make that happen?
- Ari Lewkowitz, BLRB Architects
- Commissioner Erik Hanberg, Metro Parks Tacoma
- Josh Jorgensen, Tacoma Housing Authority
Open Streets for Transportation Closing streets to vehicle traffic and opening them to people-powered transportation has been popular around the country during COVID-19, and many cities have done regular Open Streets events throughout previous summers. What are the benefits to these one-time events and how can prohibiting vehicles support long-term change? How do we make these events and changes in an equitable way that makes them inviting and safe for all people.
- Commissioner Patricia Flores, Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
- Liz Kaster, City of Tacoma
- Ben Han, City of Seattle
- Nick Ray, Our Streets Minneapolis / Open Streets Minneapolis
Open Streets for Restaurants and Commerce The City of Tacoma released a pilot program this year to make it easier for businesses and restaurants to operate in the city right of way – on the sidewalk or the street. How has this program been going? How has it supported people and businesses? And how can we do more of this in the future?
- Dr. Ruben Casas, Professor, UW Tacoma
- David Schroedel, Downtown Tacoma Partnership
- Jennifer Kammerzell, City of Tacoma
Whose streets? 2020 has highlighted the importance of streets for all. While we build opportunities for open streets and new accessible design, what are we doing to address racism, ableism, and agism in our streets? How can we address underlying systems of inequity with street design? Can we?
- Emily Calhoun, Commission on Immigrant & Refugee Affairs
- Troy Christensen, Executive Director, Rainbow Center
- Blake Geyen, Transportation & Accessibility Advocate