Orlando Promotes Active Transportation at One Less Car, One More Park

January 22, 2014

On Friday, January 10, the City of Orlando hosted its second annual One Less Car, One More Park event on Lake Eola to help promote the use of alternative transportation and encourage sustainable development. Twelve local firms transformed metered, on-street parking spaces into “parklets” for a day to display creative ways that the spaces could be repurposed if they weren’t needed for cars. This event and a growing number of others like it worldwide bring awareness to the amount of space dedicated to the car and how we can raise the quality of urban spaces.

KAI set up its own space this year, creating an urban smoothie and coffee bar complete with a seating area, potted plants, free Wi-Fi, and a solar powered phone charging station. Our amateur baristas served freshly roasted coffee at the cost of a smile while customers were encouraged to write down their ideas for ways to improve the downtown environment, which were then shared with the city. The ideas ranged from the funny and light hearted (give free hugs) to the more serious, which included the addition of more bicycle racks, the creation of better walk paths around the SunRail stations in downtown, and the implementation of a more effective public transportation system.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of KAI’s space, and certainly the one that drew the most attention, was the bicycle-powered blender. KAI baristas concocted several flavors of smoothies, and customers were able to jump on a bicycle outfitted with a blender and—in about a minute—pedal themselves a smoothie. The children from the neighboring space occupied by Howard Middle School couldn’t keep away, and we even got two of the six City of Orlando Commissioners, Commissioner Robert Stuart and Commissioner Patty Sheehan, to give the bike a go. While there were some technical difficulties due to the volume of customers (our bike blender is not yet industrial grade!), our talented engineers and planners were able to keep the bicycle-blender up and running most of the day and served more than 50 cups of smoothies!

The parklets were as diverse as the firms who built them. Other parking spaces were transformed into a mini-golf course; a solar-powered, self contained urban garden; a mini ski chalet; a trivia booth; a mini soccer field; and a dog park, among others.

Throughout the day, visitors were able to vote for their favorite parklet. At the end of the day, Commissioner Sheehan presented the honor to Katie Bray Homes whose space featured commuter bicycles, free herbs for people to grow at home, and suggestions for ways to recycle everyday items like water bottles. Commissioner Sheehan concluded with a speech about the importance of alternative transportation. The event was fun for all, but the true measure of success of this event and others like it will continue to unfold as we see more and more people changing their mindset about transportation, leaving their cars behind, and standing behind the transformation of our communities into ones that are truly multimodal. KAI's Orlando staff truly enjoyed the experience of working together to design our take on how a small space can be designed to contribute to a vibrant Downtown Orlando.

Share your thoughts

comments powered by Disqus