Stockton’s first ‘Park(ing) Day’ makes it downtown

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A nationwide event known as Park(ing) Day was held for the first time in downtown Stockton on Friday, Sep.14.

On Park(ing) Day, participants occupy a parking space and use their imagination to build things that could go there besides a car, whether it be a parklet, an art display, a wall of motivation or an outdoor living room.

“Park(ing) Day is something that started in San Francisco over 10 years ago,” said Christine Corrales, with San Joaquin Council of Governments. “And the main concept behind Parking Day is to look at parking spaces on the road and kind of reimagine what we could do with them if cars didn’t take up so much space.”

Another concept behind Park(ing) Day is to break people from their routines and get them to talk to one another.

“Typically people just get in their car and are non-stop, not engaging with folks of the neighborhood,” Corrales said. “So this is one way to make people slow down a little bit and rethink about what they do on a day-to-day basis.” 

Things that were built for Park(ing) Day in Stockton were things like game centers where visitors can play hopscotch, drawn with chalk in a parking space. Other things include art installations, live music, different outdoor living room concepts where people could rest and talk, as well as a resting area with a little bed surrounded by stuffed cloud pillows and a balloon themed sign that reads ‘Take a water, candy, balloon, nap.’ 

“The Goodstock Girls, they do the STOCKMARKET events, they’ve got a wall where you draw a task from and it gives you an activity to complete,” said Kari Mcnickle, participator in Park(ing) Day. 

Stephen Bentley, Deacon of St. John’s Episcopal Church, along with the Council Governments and Biking Coalition put the event together. 

“What we are celebrating here is biking throughout the city, with full moon rides (an event where people ride their bikes around downtown stockton from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m.), this and the Hub,” said Bentley. 

The Hub is an organization partnered with the Episcopal Church that provides free bike repair services for the less fortunate, said Bentley.

“They build and maintain bicycles for those that are less fortunate,” Bentley said. “It’s a free service for anyone that wants to come in, regardless of how much they have. 

Most people can’t afford to repair their bicycles, so the Hub is an opportunity for people to take the bicycles to a place where they can have it done, and have it done free.”  

According to Beasley, it is a likelihood that this event will take place next year as well.