An anonymous reader shares a report: It looked like yet another weird symptom of San Francisco tech culture: a cluster of people sitting on the side of a road, working at desks placed within the boundaries of a parking space. But WePark — a project led by San Francisco-based web developer Victor Pontis — was actually a manifestation of an idea that has become more popular in the last few years: Cities use space inefficiently and prioritize cars over people. The people at the desks were attempting to reclaim a sliver of space for human use. “Car parking squanders space that can be used for the public good — bike lanes, larger sidewalks, retail, cafes, more housing,” Pontis said. “Let’s use city streets for people, not cars.”
(There are also WePark franchises in France as well as Santa Monica.) Pontis said he got the idea from a Twitter exchange in which Github’s Devon Zuegel pointed out that eight bicycles could fit in one park spot instead of a car. Urbanist Annie Fryman, responded, suggesting that the metered parking spot be used as a coworking space instead. Pontis turned that hypothetical into a reality, choosing popular real estate like Santa Monica’s Ocean Avenue. The set-up was simple: he paid for a day’s worth of parking meter, then charged users people per hour. He said 30 people showed up on the first day in the three cities, paying the $2.25 per hour fee that WePark charged for a spot at a parking lot desk. (Paying for a desk at a regular coworking space, like WeWork is approximately $50 per day plus a monthly membership fee.)
The reward for working hard is more hard work.