From rLab

This page sets out a proposed policy for members parking vehicles at rLab. Parking space is one of our most constrained resources and this policy has been proposed to address the issue of fair-use. As of 13th January 2024 this policy is in consultation. We will take stock and test for consensus on 20th January 2024.

Members are invited to propose changes by editing this page. Please log in to the wiki before making changes. If you are making a substantive rather than a cosmetic change (such as fixing formatting or correcting a typo) please explain your rationale in the Discussion tab.

For reference HERE is a copy of the policy in pdf format prior to changes being made here.

Proposed policy[edit]


The car parking spaces at rLab are for members actively engaged in hacking, making, or working on projects within the rLab . These guidelines aim to ensure fair and considerate use of parking spaces for all members.


This policy seems designed from the ground up to inconvenience van lifers, while having as little effect on other members as possible.

You can always park outside the rLab if you ask the garage to make a space for you.

Therefore there's no problem to be fixed here, or need for this policy.

Primary Use:[edit]

Parking is intended for members while they are on-site and actively involved in their projects. When your active involvement in rLab ends for the day, we kindly ask that you vacate the parking space.


Why do we need to vacate spaces after we finish hacking?

There's no shortage.

Let's look at an example of why this would be impractical and silly:

If I work on a project during daylight, then want to stay at the Hackspace afterwards to socialise, sleep in my van, then work on the project again the next day, I'm supposed to leave the space for this.

For no good reason. The rLab is a social and a hacking space, but parking should be for one use and not the other? What about the social meet up, I assumed parking isn't allowed for that?

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I tend to disagree with this objection. Parking at Hackspace is fairly easy most evenings, but during weekdays the garage has many cars on their 'forecourt', and our 'builder' neighbour has his vans coming and going. With three or four members visiting by car there is often no space for anyone else. Parking in Reading is horribly expensive, but that does not give hack-space members to use the space as a 'private' parking resource. If you park, then go into town you aren't around if anyone needs you to move your wagon.

Brief Absences:[edit]

Short-term absences (e.g., stepping out for lunch or to purchase supplies) are acceptable, provided you return to continue your project. Prolonged absences for non-Hackspace activities (like shopping in town) are discouraged.


This seems to be deliberately ambiguous.

Stepping out to purchase supplies is allowed, but not shopping in town?! So, going in to town to shop for (AKA purchase) supplies is acceptable and discouraged simultaneously?

For a rule of this nature to be coherent, a time limit is needed. For example: you're only allowed to be absent from the site with a vehicle parked there for an hour at a time.

Again, there's no shortage of parking, and therefore no benefit to this rule.

Respectful Use:[edit]

Please be mindful that parking space is limited and should be used respectfully. This means not occupying spaces for extended periods without active participation in activities at rLab, and not using the space for activities unrelated to your projects (e.g., vehicle repairs that aren't part of your Hackspace project).

Flexibility for Special Circumstances: If you have a project requiring extended use of a parking space or other special circumstances, please discuss this with the Hackspace membership/directors in advance.

Enforcement and Cooperation: We rely on the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect among members to adhere to these guidelines. If issues arise, they will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the rLab membership/directors .


That first paragraph is a mess of nonsense. Many laughs have been had over the concept of trying to ban vehicle repairs, that would include bikes, robots, boats and cars, not just vans remember.

Next is the concept of having to ask permission to park outside when not hacking. The directors are busy enough without having to sign off for me to park outside if I'm driving past and need to take a dump. Or maybe I could take this to the whole membership for a vote?

Almost every key issue here is left ambiguous.

How does one use a parking space "respectfully"? What's an "extended period"?

Worst of all, what counts as an "activity related to my project"? What about cleaning or tidying the Hackspace? Fixing Hackspaces tools? Helping other members with their projects? Attending a social event and spending some of the time asking for advice on my project?

Again, this policy idea is to fix a problem that we don't have.

People could take advantage of our first come first served rule for the 3D printers. They could use both the printers for business projects, and have them finish at around 3am, come in at that time to set up new prints, and make it near impossible for other members to use them.

So, shall we make new rules up to combat this hypothetical problem?

No! Not unless and until it actually exists as a problem!