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New South Park pavement park celebrates Day of the Dead

The design pays tribute to artist Dahvee Enciso’s mother

Courtesy of SDOT

Pavement to Parks, a project spearheaded by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), transforms underutilized stretches of roadway into colorful, car-free community spaces. The latest (and likely last) project is in South Park, with a design that celebrates Day of the Dead, commonly known as Día de los Muertos, a celebration of the dead that traces back to the Aztecs but developed in southern Mexico.

The pavement park, which is set up on Eighth Avenue S near Cloverdale Street outside the South Park Library, includes a decorative crosswalk and a floral design indicating a car-free stretch of the street. The intersection of Eighth and Donovan also gains some decor.

Out of 22 submissions of pavement art, South Park neighbors voted to select a design by Dahvee Enciso, who also happens to be pavement engineering crew chief at SDOT. Enciso’s design is a personal Day of the Dead celebration: In addition to deeply symbolic fixtures like marigolds, it depicts his mother, Eva, who died unexpectedly a few years ago.

Pavement to Parks projects are meant to last two to three years, but parks installed using thermoplastic, including this one, can last up to a decade.

A new crosswalk design at Eighth and Cloverdale was inspired by the artist’s mother.
Enciso with his crosswalk design.
The intersection of Eighth and Donovan.
A gathering space outside of the South Park Library includes seating.
Enciso’s design submission, which ultimately became SDOT’s last pavement park.

SDOT says this is the last installment of the Pavement to Parks program, which is missing from a proposed biennial budget from Mayor Jenny Durkan. A community effort calling for deeper investment in transit, pedestrians, and bikes has asked that the program be reinstated.

Previous iterations of the Pavement to Parks program, which started in 2015, include Arcade Plaza in Capitol Hill, which has a Pac-Man design, and another brand-new park that debuted in Rainier Beach earlier this month.

A new pavement park on Rose Street in Rainier Beach.

This article has been updated to clarify Enciso’s role in SDOT.