The city of Orlando hosted its One Less Car, One More Park event earlier this month in which 12 local firms gathered at Lake Eola\’s Thornton Park to showcase inventive greener transportation alternatives.
Participating firms transformed empty on-street metered parking spaces into ingenious mini-locales, fostering and rethinking greener ways of encouraging people to walk, bike, take the bus and carpool as well.
\”It\’s a matter of using new technology and making us greener, making us healthier and making us make a better use of space altogether,\” said District 4 City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who presented Katie Bray of Katie Bray Homes with the Voters\’ Choice Award trophy for the best \”park.\” Bray\’s theme, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, got locals brainstorming with her interactive display of alternatives for every-day reusable materials like \”turning a wine bottle into a candle piece.\” Bray said she also does her share at home with her Nissan Leaf, which is 100 percent electric.
Myra Monrail, transportation planning division manager for the city of Orlando, said her favorite thing about One Less Car, One More Park is the way the trophy captures the spirit of the event in repurposing an old parking meter into the trophy. \”I mean, you can tell we have a lot of engineers and architects that tinker with stuff and get creative, so we\’re always looking for that type of creativity,\” said Monrail.
Sheehan pointed out that Florida still has a long way to go and needs a dedicated funding source for greener initiatives. \”Unfortunately, our Legislature just doesn\’t seem to understand the need for that, but we have got to put dedicated funding into our bus service. They shouldn\’t have to be begging local governments for money year after year,\” said Sheehan. Sheehan said she understands people and small businesses freak out when you talk about taking their parking away, but she believes there needs to be alternatives. \”If we want a healthier community, we gotta get out of those vehicles.\”
The participating firms at the event included Charlan Brock & Associates, Comprehensive Engineering Services Inc., Downtown Arts District, E Sciences, Fry Hammond Barr, Howard Middle School, Katie Bray Homes, Kittelson & Associates Inc., Olde Town Brokers, Parsons Brinckerhoff, rethink and Rollins College.