Margaret Foley, 65, of Silver Spring, swiped brown ink across a silk screen on Ellsworth Drive on Friday.
Afterward, she held up the result of her efforts — a white bookmark printed with a rock and plant design.
“We just stopped by and they asked if we wanted to do [the screen printing] and we said, ‘Yeah, why not? We are all for fun!’” Foley said.
Foley had stopped to see the county’s celebration of International Parking Day after taking a senior exercise class nearby. The holiday celebrates improving streets in urban areas.
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission roped off part of Ellsworth Drive and erected displays on improving paved streets for pedestrians, drivers and the environment, a concept known as “complete streets.”
The planning department teamed with groups like Congress for the New Urbanism and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center for the event.
“We want to raise awareness of the benefit of thinking about streets and sidewalks and how they can be different,” said Valerie Berton, communications manager for the planning department. “People may not think about that at all, but they can be so much better.”
This is the first year the planning department has hosted the event and Berton said the department hopes to expand it next year.
The department has hosted workshops on the complete streets concept with other county agencies like the Department of Transportation, the Department of Permitting Services and the Department of Environmental Protection. Berton said the department also hopes to make a presentation on complete streets to the county Planning Board in October.
Planner Tina Schneider placed a potted plant on a stretch of grass sod, which was part of the planning department’s display. She and other employees had set up a line of bricks to represent a sidewalk next to the piece of sod, which was next to paved road, which was next to another piece of sod, and so forth.
The display represented a model of a “complete street,” road friendly to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and the environment. The model places dirt and plants between sidewalks and roads to collect storm water runoff. The sidewalks welcome pedestrians and cyclists.
“It’s to make it active, decrease the amount of cars and increase the amount of human activity while mobilizing activity in and out,” Schneider said.
Sarah Lewis, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of Congress for the New Urbanism, which advocates for walkable urban neighborhoods, drew a beach design with colored chalk on the Ellsworth Drive pavement, with the title, “Oceans of Asphalt.”
“There is too much asphalt in our environment,” Lewis said. “So, we need to start to think about what we could do to spark inspiration to look at stuff differently.”