If it’s parking lot booths you’re after, San Francisco’s Market Street isn’t a great place to look. On the whole length of the street, I only found one and a half.

There are a handful of places to park. But few have booths.


If you’re staying at the Travelodge at Market and Valencia there’s a spot for you.

 

Sometimes the booths have lots of personality. And although they invite graffiti, they can also host street art.


This piece, just half a block off Market Street, seems to be by the British artist Banksy (http://www.banksy.co.uk/).

There’s something poignant about parking lot booths. They’re a dying piece of the urban landscape. There’s really no reason any longer for parking lots to have human concierges.


A machine can do the job.

 

And the lots themselves are mostly doomed. They need to be in places where people want to go – to shop or eat or visit. But nobody wants to just go to a parking lot. So the popularity of their neighbors creates the pressure to get rid of them. One by one they disappear and with them their booths.

I got rid of one myself, though there wasn’t a booth: just parking meters. Now on the site there’s a grocery store, library, and housing (see my article for the Urbanist Magazine: How to Turn a Parking Lot into Apartments, a library, and a Grocery Store the Hard Way: http://74.200.72.136/publications/library/article/howtoturnaparkinglointoapartments05012004).

The whole length of Market Street there are only one and a half booths.


This one has a sign to say that it’s lost its lease.

 


Farther up Market, this half booth.

It’s only there on weekends, in the parking lot of Sullivan’s Funeral Home. Weekdays it gets rolled away. The clients aren’t grieving friends and relatives; they’re kids going clubbing.


 

It measures only 2.25 feet by 5 feet. The attendant’s review:

“It’s got my desk. It’s got my television. It works for me.”

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