Motorists looking to park along Francisco Avenue on a recent Friday afternoon had to contend with Cholo, a rooster from Douglas Park who had temporarily taken up residence on the corner just south of Diversey Avenue.
The bird and his hen posse were part of pop-up park created by Moss Design (2855 W. Diversey Ave.) in celebration of PARK(ing) Day on Sept. 20, an annual “urbanist holiday” that encourages people to transform public parking spots into temporary parks to promote the need for more urban greenspace.
“We want more grass, more trees, and less concrete,” said Moss Design Principal Laura Cripe.
While PARK(ing) Day installations can range from simple to the elaborate, most typically include some combination of seating and shade, creating a welcome oasis for passersby while emphasizing the value of reclaiming street space for use by people instead of cars.
In addition to the chicken coop, the site on Francisco Avenue featured potted plants, lawn chairs, a bocce ball set, and even a wood-fired pizza oven courtesy of Logan Square restaurant Osteria Langhe.
Moss Design created its first temporary PARK(ing) Day installation in 2009, and has since developed several semi-permanent parklets around the city, including the pedestrian space outside the Logan Square Intelligentsia on Milwaukee Avenue.
However, this particular site—eight diagonal parking spaces located just outside Moss Design’s offices—is especially important to the firm, who would like to see it become a permanent greenspace.
“This used to be grocery store, so diagonal parking made sense at the time, but that was years and years ago,” Cripe said. “It’s more residential and mixed-use now [so] we want to convert this back into a parkway.”
According to her, re-instituting a parkway design would provide more greenspace and only result in the loss of three total parking spaces. The result, the firm said, would be a “permanent, sustainable, green, water-filtering, tree-filled linear park.”
Featured photo: Moss Design