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Park(ing) Day brings parks for a day

It’s Park(ing) Day.

That means some metered parking spots across the region are being transformed today into tiny public parks. (If you are looking for parking in some parts of downtown, it might be just a bit extra challenging to find one).

This year about 20 District locations are participating in the annual worldwide event.  The D.C. Department of Transportation posted this map Thursday showing the places where you will find the pop-up parks and where you are welcome to hang out.

Park(ing) Day originated in San Francisco nine years ago to raise awareness of the need for more parks and public spaces in cities.  It is now celebrated in more than 160 cities in six continents, according to event organizers.

This year, residents, activists, artists and others are getting creative and transforming spaces into temporary public parks in some streets of downtown, including on K street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and in Georgetown, the U Street corridor and NoMa. There are a few also in Arlington and Alexandria.

So what should you expect?  You might find a small forest over metered parking spaces on the corner of 12th and G streets Northwest and a mini-urban carnival on K Street and 17th streets. Some participants take this challenge very seriously and put up displays with tall green trees, shrubs, flowers, bags of soil, stumps that are comfortable enough to sit on, and even picnic tables.

The folks who run the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District on Pennsylvania Avenue are taking advantage of the occasion to introduce a concept plan for improvements to Pennsylvania Avenue NW and to encourage the public to get involved in the conversation about adding more public spaces.

“We just want to celebrate the city,” said Megan Barrett, of Urbanfun, a new online magazine that has put up a colorful “urban carnival” at a parking spot outside 1723 K Street where the group will be giving out popcorn and having games and prizes.