On September 22, Planning and Development staff participated in PARK(ing) Day in downtown Champaign. Hosted by the Student Planning Organization at UIUC, PARK(ing) Day reimagined 10 street parking spaces around the corner of Walnut Street and Chester Street as places for people. Staff transformed one parking space into a “temporary plaza” to generate interest in and gather input for the Downtown Plaza and Neil Street Corridor studies. The plaza included several features that have already been identified by stakeholders as things they might like to see in a future plaza space: grass, shade, seating, water features…even a place to charge a phone.
The event was a success, with dozens of people stopping by to ask questions and leave feedback about both the Neil Street Corridor and the Downtown Plaza. Staff also distributed a number of business cards encouraging people to stay connected with the project through the planourplaza.com website. This unique public engagement effort complements ongoing stakeholder meetings and more traditional appearances by staff at other community events.
Other PARK(ing) Day participants included Neutral Cycle (free bike repairs), Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (CUUATS) (roundabout demonstration), and various art, architecture, and music groups.