Encouraging an eco-friendly environment and reducing pollution was the top concern for participants in this year’s annual PARK(ing) Day in downtown Phoenix.
Located in front of Phoenix City Hall and ASU Downtown’s Taylor Place residence hall, the event included yoga mats, a karaoke station, a Christmas tree and a badminton game, all of which occupied street-side parking spaces.
The event encourages participants to pay for a parking spot in downtown Phoenix — or one of the other 162 participating cities worldwide — and turn it into a small park.
ASU Downtown campus students who participated in the event did so in hopes of encouraging people to have a greater appreciation for things outside of just getting to the next destination as soon as possible.
Criminal justice and criminology student Gabe Radley said the event demonstrated the lifestyle choices of not relying on cars.
“Park(ing) Day is where people all over the world come together for the sole purpose of showing that there are better things to do with your life than park a car,” Radley said. “You can take this space that would otherwise go to waste and use it to amuse people, to educate people.”
Journalism sophomore Sophia Mayberry found PARK(ing) Day’s promotion of pedestrianism and freedom from cars inspiring.
“It’s cool that a bunch of students can get together for a cause for their local community, like less parking spaces and parking lots, and more trees and greenery,” Mayberry said. “It’s a good cause for the environment.”
Jill Johnson, program manager at Barrett, the Honors College at the Downtown campus, criticized the lack of initiative that most people have in terms of taking advantage of public transportation. Johnson said those who opt to use their cars for all means of transportation are neglecting to save money and cut down on pollution.
“People mindlessly get in their vehicle and drive all over this planet without thinking about the repercussions: financially, environmentally,” Johnson said. “People want the convenience of their vehicle. They don’t want to make that effort. For them it’s easier to drive in their cars and have their private space.”
Johnson, a Tempe resident, made the switch to public transportation after years of using her car for everything, motivated to find a way that could help her save money and play a role in helping the environment. She now wakes up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and commutes by bus rather than driving downtown.
“It was costing me money and polluting the Earth,” Johnson said. “I made a small change in my lifestyle.”
Johnson said she saves about $350 per month on gas and car repairs, and added that the benefits are more than just financial.
“I’m not contributing to the problems of pollution and congestion on the highways,” she said.
PARK(ing) Day lasted from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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