Thursday, September 20, 2012

Parking Day Street Art Port Credit (Mississauga) Ontario

Mississauga Marking International Park(ing) Day 

September 21 is International Park(ing) Day, when participating cities around the world replace some of their metered street parking spots with car-less projects that range from free health clinics and free bike repair shops, to tiny green parks and art installations.

 Park(ing) Day began in 2005, in San Francisco, with one two-hour metered spot; in 2011, some 162 cities, in 35 countries took part.

This year, the City of Mississauga is taking part for the first time, with four art installations along Lakeshore Road East in Port Credit. Taking Park(ing) 'Day' to Park(ing) DayS, these installations will remain in place for 10 days to encompass next weekend's Mississauga Culture Days events (see below).

Parking Day art installation outside LCBO store on Lakeshore Road East in Port Credit.
Setting up on Lakeshore Road East Outside LCBO 
The most easterly of the four installations is outside the LCBO store on Lakeshore Road East, in Port Credit, adjacent to the site of the Saturday Farmers Market.

Red parking cones hold flowerpots in a temporary garden in a parking spot on Lakeshore Road East in Port Credit.
Parking Cone 'planters' for Flowerpot Garden 
The second installation, a flowerpot garden set on parking cones (the only installation that looks good from all angles, in my opinion) is located a few steps west from the first project, and also adjacent to the Farmers Market (LCBO parking lot). These locations are east of Hurontario Street (Hwy 10).

Bright yellow slide in parking spot on Lakeshore Road, Port Credit, with abacus of Xs and Os.
Yellow Xs and Os West of Hurontario on Lakeshore in Mississauga 
From the south side of Lakeshore, this installation looks like something, but what, I cannot say, since I had to leave this morning's 'media launch' prior to the tour reaching this point.

I will let you know what it is when I find out. But at least, from this viewpoint, it looks like Something. Not sure if kids are intended to climb and slide, or spin the Xs and Os. The absence of signage on any of the projects, which have been in place for the past two days, has left many passersby scratching their heads. Perhaps the signs will go up over the coming days.

Rear view of art installation looks like a dumpster parked on Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga.
The View from Across the Street: A Dumpster?
As I mentioned, the flowerpot garden looks good from all angles. This occurred to me when I spied the Big Yellow Slide thing from across Lakeshore Road. With no signage, it looks more like a dumpster than a Park(ing) Day installation, and any impact is lost on passing traffic.

Van outside post office in Port Credit has new deck and steps of blue, yellow and white planks.
Abandoned Van or Art: Outside old Post Office 
Outside the old Post Office on Lakeshore just west of Stavebank Road, this modified van has colorful wooden decking and seating. Again, are people welcome to sit a spell? Or not? The streetside door has a single wooden bar across the opening. A live traffic lane is just the other side of the van. Where's Health and Safety when we need them?

Burgundy van and orange parking cones are part of an art installation outside old Post Office in Port Credit.
The Far Side View: Art Not on Display from across the street.
Again, from across the street (Lakeshore Road East, at the old Post Office, which is west of Stavebank Road), or as glimpsed from passing traffic, this van looks like it's recently been in an accident and waiting for the tow truck. More road distraction than art installation. And two parking spots to boot.

Advertising from City of Mississauga for Culture Days and Park(ing) Days.
Brochures for Parking) Day and Mississauga Culture Days
Park(ing) Days in Port Credit sets the stage for Mississauga Culture Days taking place next weekend, Sept 28-Sept 30, that includes the popular Doors Open Mississauga on Saturday Sept 29. For a list of venues, times etc see Doors Open Mississauga site and 2010 blog post. The former Small Arms building in Lakeview (number40 on the list) will have veterans and former employees on hand to talk about their experiences.

New but temporary signs encourage walking and cycling in Port Credit.
New Signs are Part of the Art in Port Credit.
These new but temporary signs, again, with no indication that they are part of the Park(ing) Day installations, are set up in various points through Port Credit. Out of context, they look a bit odd.

Ward One Councillor, Jim Tovey, beside 'Art Sign' near Ten Restaurant
This sign says Bike, with arrows pointing to the street (Lakeshore Road East) and to the sidewalk outside Timothy's coffee shop just west of Hurontario. As if we don't have enough cyclists riding on the sidewalk; now they have this unofficial sign that implies it is fine to so do.

Tovey had a hand in the 'piano-keyboard' crosswalk design at the intersection of Hurontario and Lakeshore directly behind him in the above photo. That looks amazing and will last for years.

Sign says No Cycling on sidewalks in Mississauga.
NO Cycling on Sidewalks in Mississauga (or Toronto, for that matter)
And just a few steps west of the misleading cycling sign is one of many such signs along Lakeshore and adjacent streets in Port Credit. (MiWay is the Mississauga bus, passing by). It's really tough being a pedestrian, what with devil-may-care cyclists weaving around pedestrians on the village sidewalks, little scofflaws if you will, who make walking an extreme sport, especially on weekends. Rather have Bylaw Enforcement educate the bike riders than put up 'art' signs that muddy the issue further.  Cyclists, Get off your bike and WALK or get on the street.

A few thoughts about the temporary patios in Port Credit:

Temporary patios and wooden boardwalks Lakeshore Road E between Stavebank and Elizabeth St.
Patios Lakeshore Road Port Credit, looking east towards Elizabeth St.
Not really part of the art installations for Park(ing) Day (and boy, is that getting tiresome to type), and just as temporary, are these series of wood patios and boardwalks also located on Lakeshore between Stavebank and Elizabeth streets. Note the large signs with large arrows directing traffic.

These signs with large arrows (Please Use the Boardwalk. Please Don't Walk on the Street) are good to have, though it took several weeks of many bewildered pedestrians who inferred the sidewalk was closed and proceeded along the live traffic lanes to get past the restos. Interesting yet dangerous times.

These temporary and wood-heavy patios are another Port Credit pilot project that is met with mixed reviews from resident walkers and those looking for a place to park. No word on how the patrons felt about sitting out in traffic with cyclists and pedestrians pausing to check out the food they were  forking in. Adjacent business said they were not very happy as customers couldn't park close by.

Wooden boardwalk replaces concrete sidewalk, Lakeshhore road, Port Credit
Boardwalk along Lakeshore Road Port Credit.
A lot of wood, a lot of flowers, and it looks good. But will it return next year? Should sidewalks be usurped by bars? Granted, the sidewalks along this stretch of the village could really use some updating, but I am not convinced this is the way to go. This patio section is on the south side of Lakeshore; a smaller version is across the street.

A plank wood wall faces Lakeshore Road in Port Credit.
Patio Viewed from Lakeshore Road in Port Credit.
Again, the view from the street: A wall of wood. As far as I know, no vehicles have crashed into it, though, and it may help slow speeders along this block.

Sidewalk south side of Lakeshore Road East seems to end up in a restaurant patio.
Looking West along Lakeshore Road south sidewalk.

Here's the view walking west; the large direction signs are not visible until you are upon them, with some pedestrians still opting to walk along the live traffic lanes. 

Oddly enough, this stretch of Lakeshore Road in afternoon and early evening, is the hottest and least windy part of all of Port Credit. One has to wonder if a rooftop or backyard patio would better suit those patrons who enjoy patios with their restaurants. One also has to wonder on the return on investment for these temporary structures. I can hardly wait for next summer to find out.

But back to Park(ing) Days and Culture Days:

While I applaud the concept, and appreciate the hard work by both City staff and artists in setting it up, I think the execution can be improved in coming years.

 Do come and take a walk in Port Credit, and let me know if I am just nit-picking or if I do have a point. Either way, it's a lot of fun to live here, and I am learning to go with the flow.