San Francisco Supervisors Vote to Keep Parklets, Close Them at Night

The pandemic-era outdoor seating arrangements can stay, but a last-minute amendment lets business owners close them overnight.

July 21, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

San Francisco Parklet

San Francisco Planning Department / Flickr

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors "approved a modified version of the ordinance regulating the Shared Spaces program to allow mostly small businesses to continue to use public sidewalks and parking spots to bolster their businesses — and to close those spaces at night," marking a tempered victory for proponents of the "pandemic parklets" that sprang up over the last year and a half. 

As reported by J.K. Dineen and Mallory Moench, despite arguments that keeping them open at night would preserve public space, the supervisors decided to allow businesses to close the parklets at night, citing concerns about noise and vandalism. "Over the past several months, the parklet program has come under scrutiny as elected officials grappled with how to regulate the hundreds of outdoor spaces that provided a lifeline for small businesses during the pandemic. In particular, board members sought to make sure that parklets would be accessible to disabled people and debated privatizing public space permanently." 

Under the new rules, "[m]om-and-pop businesses will enjoy a two-year fee waiver for the program to help in economic recovery. The fees range from $1,000 to $3,000 for a single parking space, depending on the type of parklet, and will be required for formula chain stores."

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 in San Francisco Chronicle

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