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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Logan Square Parking Spots Get A Green Makeover For A Day — And Firm Hopes To Make It Permanent

"You get the great benefit of having trees and shrubs as opposed to concrete and flood water," the owner of the design firm said. "It would go a long way in making Logan Square a greener place."

The temporary parklet at Diversey and Francisco avenues.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — A Logan Square design firm on Friday transformed eight metered parking spaces into a green oasis complete with trees and shrubs, a chicken coop and amenities for people to enjoy like seats and an umbrella.

It’s only temporary: Moss Design Studio took on the project for PARK(ing) Day, an “urbanist holiday” that encourages folks in cities around the world to reclaim parking spaces as green space for one day only. The event is held on the third Friday of September every year.

Matt Nardella, founder of Moss Design Studio, is using the holiday to make a case for a permanent parklet, or small park, at that location. Nardella said he believes a parklet is a much better use of the space.

“Right now, these are just diagonal parking spaces that are terrible, not only because there’s parking where it shouldn’t be,” Nardella said.

“It’s not graded properly There’s giant puddles every time it rains. There’s ice slicks when it snows. It’s completely out of character with the rest of Francisco. Everywhere else there’s a parkway with trees and parallel spots.”

Nardella needs approval from Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) to make the parklet permanent.

It’s unclear if Waguespack supports the project. His office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

If Waguespack were to sign off on it, Nardella said the city would have to come in and demolish the existing curb and move it about 12 feet to accommodate the green space.

Nardella said he’s committed to designing and paying for the landscaping needed to make the parklet inviting.

“You could say it should be paid for with public money. We feel it’s important enough that we want to contribute, too,” he said.

Diagonal parking spaces are no longer needed at that location, Nardella argued. They’re only there because the building that now houses Moss Design Studio was once home to a small grocery store and a liquor store, he said.

The parklet Nardella envisions would only result in the loss of two or three parking spaces that could be moved across the street.

“There’s really no impact on the parking meter deal or peoples’ access to parking and you get the great benefit of having trees and shrubs as opposed to concrete and flood water,” he said.

A parklet, Nardella said, would also fix the area’s flooding problem. He said the trees and shrubs would absorb rainfall so water doesn’t go into the sewer system and “burden our underground maze of water and sewer pipes.”

“It would go a long way in making Logan Square a greener place.”

To celebrate PARK(ing) Day, the folks from Moss Design Studio will be out at the temporary parklet all day Friday.

There will be wood-fired pizza from Osteria Langhe’s mobile pizza oven and Marz Community Brewing beer from 3-6 p.m.

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