In a new turnabout for the city's Sit/Lie ordinance, parklets and wayward youth, a local advertising student has found yet another use for a Haight Street parking space: put a bed on it.
Like the Park(ing) Day displays that pop up every year, the Goodwill-adjacent twin bed at Haight and Cole is apparently legal as long as the meter is paid for, although there's some disagreement on whether or not actually sleeping in it is a crime. Bennet Austin, the 29-year-old mastermind behind the
stunt display explains to the Weekly:
I was thinking about ways to circumvent the sit/lie law... If I'm on the sidewalk I could be fined for loitering, but in a paid parking spot there's no clear definition about what can and cannot be legally fixed.Although Austin believes he has effectively legalized sleeping on the streets, SFPD says he could still be cited for violating the sit/lie ordinance. For now though, the cops are giving him a break to avoid getting tangled up in any messy claims of stifling his first amendment rights.
Free speech and sit/lie issues aside, Austin's donation jar pulled in $600 in one day for the Homeless Youth Alliance, a non-profit that provides showers, doctor visits and places for homeless kids in the Haight to temporarily get off the streets. Even if we occasionally doubt whether the neighborhood's sit/lie targets are actually homeless, we can at least appreciate that someone has offered them a place to shower.
Finally, being an advertising student, Austin has created some slick marketing materials to legitimize the whole thing. As far as San Francisco topics go, he's pretty much hit all the hot points on this one. We'd say he's probably got a nice career in advertising ahead of him: