Photo: Mark Boster/LA Times
Drivers looking for parking space are going to be dismayed, but the many San Francisco residents are enjoying this clever idea, a tiny "parkmobile" made from modified dumpsters:
The two bright-red dumpsters, 16 feet long by nearly 6 feet wide and filled with greenery, have been placed in a busy downtown neighborhood where they throw a little shade, elicit regular double-takes and fill curbside spots that otherwise would go to cars.
The grandly named "parkmobiles" were rolled out earlier this summer, the first in a fleet of itinerant oases in one of America's densest cities.
"The more crowded a city is, the more new ideas come squeezing out of the ferment in a combination of need and opportunity," said Peter Harnik, director of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land. "New York and San Francisco are two of the most innovative places."
Not everyone's into the it, though:
When parking spots began turning into parkland, retailers and drivers groused: "So where do we put the cars?" Those who advocate for more green space in the city worried that the miniatures would replace traditional parks. Even former Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. got into the fray, deriding in a recent newspaper column the "overgrown flower boxes" that he said were a magnet for the homeless.
"The first one I came across had obviously been used as a bathroom," Hizzoner carped. "The second one I visited, a guy and gal were 'socializing' in the bushes."