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For two days, Lansing turns parking spaces into playgrounds

Lansing parklet photo
Kevin Lavery
Tina Reynolds and Brad Garmon of the Michigan Environmental Council enjoy toasted marshmallows in their "parklet" along Capitol Avenue in Lansing.

Cities large and small are always looking for ways to make the most of their green spaces. That’s especially true in downtown business districts that are designed for cars and trucks. Current State’s Kevin Lavery reports on how Lansing is trying to re-envision city life in the shadow of the Capitol dome.

The Michigan Capitol building is a popular and picturesque meeting spot in downtown Lansing. Its grassy east lawn is adorned with shade trees and historic war memorials. It’s not surprising, then, that dozens of people parked alongside Capitol Avenue this week...not their cars, mind you...but themselves. For two days, the very street itself became an urban oasis for children playing games and workers playing a little hooky.

The Michigan Municipal League sponsored the project, called “Convert Capitol Avenue.” It’s designed to encourage people to imagine a more pedestrian-friendly downtown Lansing.

Current State’s Kevin Lavery met with project organizer Derek Tisler on the avenue, where parking spaces were transformed into parklets.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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