Not All Is Verdant and Rosy With S.F.'s Parklets

The removal of a parklet that had been criticized as 'a haven for homelessness and illegal activity' reflects some of the growing pains experienced by San Francisco as it's sought to encourage the conversion of on-street parking into public spaces.
August 6, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"On Haight Street, two new parking spaces where a parklet was recently removed highlight the growing pains of a popular open-space program and what The City can learn from the failure," reports Andrea Koskey. "In July, a parklet outside of Martin Macks bar in the Upper Haight was the first to be removed after nearly a year of controversy, and Planning Department officials running the program have learned from this incident and others that have cropped up around The City."

"As the number of applications increased — up to 55 this year — so did the oversight and guidelines, enough so that the design of the now-removed parklet in the Upper Haight would not be approved today, said Paul Chasan, parklet project manager with the Planning Department."

"Applicants now are asked to describe what the parklet will include before design drawings are submitted," explains Koskey. "The guidelines are compiled in a comprehensive packet released late last year by the Planning Department."

"We were kind of working it out as we go," Chasan said. "This is the first attempt to codify our policies."

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Published on Sunday, August 4, 2013 in San Francisco Examiner
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