Thursday, May 22, 2014

GroJLartitorial-- Screw Party Walls, Let's Pretty-up Our Parking Garages

               Everyone hates parking garages... but where the hell else are you gonna put all those cars? I hate them like a vegan hates a Brauhaus Schmitz's Schweinshaxen, but I get why they exist, even when they're above ground. So if they have to exist, can we at least make them look nice?
              Back when I was doing Parking Garage of the Week, I highlighted the Lift at Sansom/Juniper/Drury because at least someone had a little forethought to see that maybe people don't want to look at a big pile of concrete holding cars up and instead would like to see something that looks at least a little bit like it belongs. 

See what I mean?
                However, just making the garage blend in is just one way to make these ugly fuckers better. How about making them look good-- making them another piece of art to add to the built environment or whatever the fuck the intellectuals call it? Even murals would help.
                Think about it-- the Mural Arts Program gets its ass kissed from here to Kalamazoo for prettying-up ugly party walls, yet I can only think of a few instances when they painted a mural on a parking garage. The airport one being the most obvious-- there's a whole damn website about it for fuck's sake. In my opinion, big-ass parking garages are worse to have around than empty party walls, yet only a handful of muraled-up parking garages exist.
                But again, there's an even better solution. New facades. I write this, of course, knowing that the PPA is already making over the facade of the shitbird garage at 8th and Filbert/Arch with a badass design by WRT, who knows what the fuck they're doing. They also plan to get on the shitty 10th Street/Chestnut garage.

               Now THIS is how parking garages can look better. New modern facades that act as art pieces. You could even make facades that would be waaay too impractical for a regular building work well for a parking garage. One of the things people love about Philadelphia is how we have those goddamn murals everywhere. Love them or hate them, they do help spur appreciation of our city's massively over-saturated arts scene. Well here's the new Mural Arts Program. The Make Parking Garages Look Less Like a Pile of Fucking Dogshit Program, or the MPGLLLPFDP!
              Of course, I must now honor the garage that inspired me to write this GroJLartitorial, Parkway Corp's 12th & Walnut garage, as seen at the top of this post. This garage is such a mindfuck. Its a 50+ year old, 35,000 square foot, 616-car garage with a whole shitload of storefronts facing every direction that are usually filled and don't stay empty very long when they're not. This is the home of Jake's Sandwich Board, Eat-a-Pita, Rice & Mix, and Marabella Meatball Company, all small local businesses that make kick-ass nom noms. The location for it is perfect because there's a lot of shit to do in the immediate area but barely anywhere to park. The place is also high-tech as shit. Back when the Philaphiliamobile was stolen, the security dude at this garage was able to check in five seconds whether or not my car had ever been in that garage. The fucking garage can read your license plate!

            It really is a mindfuck-- great garage, shitty looking. It even fucks your mind when viewed from blocks away... the slanted nature of the decks cause an optical illusion that makes 12th Street look like its going downhill or something. 

See what I mean? You don't? Well fuck you then.
                   THIS is my primary candidate for a parking garage facade makeover. Almost anything would be better.

Here's a whacky concept I came up with for the 12th/Walnut garage. Don't like it? Good. Make a better one and get it done!!
                Other candidates for makeovers include the Pigeonhole Parking shitgarage on Broad Street, Five Star's 7th and Market garage (which already has murals on it), and the super-gigantic Wood Street Garage. Now make it happen, you fucks!!! You'll thank me later.

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