Several years ago, on daily walks along Person Street, Tina Govan began asking the question "With so much precious real estate devoted to cars, couldn't these lots becomes places for people too?"

If we can invite the life that is already here out onto the streets, then we can achieve Raleigh's goal of "Livable Streets" and help build lively, connected communities.

Tina invited Philip Bernard, head of the Person Street Partnership (PSP), along with neighborhood architects Jeremy Hauch and Chad Butterworth, to join her in exploring how Person Street's  parking lots might be used in other ways, might be made for "persons."

We assembled our collective ideas and presented them at the holiday PSP meeting, focusing on ideas we could implement ourselves.

Some of our ideas were: 

Build movable planters, small trees, and benches  that could be rolled out when needed, defining  multipurpose parking lot/plazas, adding greenery and providing a buffer from  street traffic.

Give a facelift to the vacant old Barbershop and paint a  neighborhood mural. 

Create a pop-up  "music plaza" in front of the music store Marsh Woodwinds, with a musical bench or outdoor piano available for anyone to play. 

On occasion, Nicole's art gallery could  spill out onto the parking lot for an outdoor art show.  Nicole proved that this works very well.

The surface of the parking lots could be altered, possibly painted, and green walls could delineate and soften these plaza/lots.

These kinds of transformations are happening all over the country.  One example is  Park(ing) Day, when people temporarily transform a parking space for people use. Thankfully, Person Street is a happening street now, for a variety of reasons. We hope we helped and we hope  to continue to be part of its evolution, caring for and nurturing our local street life.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore and implement new ways to transform our (too) many surface parking lots into plazas...!