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Spots on South Lake Avenue Greened Over For a Day

Pasadena Star News, Posted: 09/19/08 10:43:17 PM PDT

PASADENA – If we didn’t need so many parking spaces, we’d have more space for parks.

That was the message behind Friday’s National Park(ing) Day event in the city, where three parking spots on South Lake Avenue were transformed into mini parks for a few hours to dramatize what we sacrifice to park our cars.

“We’ve been working since 6:30 a.m. but planning and organizing for months,” said Bill Lewis, snapping a photograph of Pasadena City College student Gloria Newton as she relaxed on the lawn for a few moments, surrounded by flowers and shrubs – and passing traffic.

The elaborate parking-space park at 251 S. Lake Ave., was put in by a partnership of CB Richard Ellis Group, a commercial real estate company, and ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance. It was one of 10 the companies installed across the country, including three in Pasadena.

Passers-by were a little confused, Lewis said, but seemed to get the idea, first hatched four years ago by the San Francisco-based art collective, REBAR.

“The real concept is, imagine how it would be if we didn’t have cars everywhere. But I’m not sure how practical it is,” Lewis said, smiling.

Farther down Lake, PCC sculpture students put in a temporary mini golf course under the direction of Deena Capparelli, a professor of visual arts and media studies at PCC.

“We’re more a guerilla group,” she joked. “Actually, we’ve had a great response, it makes people think how much space is devoted to a car.”

Councilwoman Margaret McAustin dropped by to see how the mini parks were looking – including a third one at 345 S. Lake installed by the South Lake Business Association – and said they underscored a need in the central district.

“It shows what a little green space can do to change your outlook on things,” said McAustin. “And it’s fun.”

[CAPTION: Emily Boehr of Arcadia walks on the grass speaking to Janessa Cotugno right, of Valley Crest who designed this “mini park” on South Lake Avenue in Pasadena as part of the 4th annual National Park(ing) Day Friday, September 19, 2008. National Park(ing) Day is, an annual worldwide event and the mission is to turn metered public parking spaces into temporary public parks and show how important it is to reclaim land in an urban jungle.(Staff Photo by Walt Mancini)]

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