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Proposed Parklet Divides San Francisco Gay Neighborhood

A small cafe in San Francisco's gay neighborhood, the Castro, proposed a parklet on two parking spaces that is dividing merchants. Some see it as a potential haven for homeless and illegal activity, as well as objecting to the loss of parking.
September 8, 2015, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The parklet request comes from the Newbury brothers who own Reveille Coffee Co. at 4080 18th Street, a new coffee house operating out of a renovated garage. However, at a Castro Merchants group meeting on Sept. 3, some businesses "voiced strong objections to seeing a parklet be installed on 18th Street," writes Matthew S. Bajko for The Bay Area Reporter, although a narrow majority supported the proposal.

Not only do they object to the removal of the two parking spaces, they also raised concerns that the parklet would be a magnet for homeless people. They noted the ongoing problems the neighborhood has had with bad behavior at the nearby Jane Warner Plaza, a mini pedestrian plaza carved out of a segment of 17th Street.

Jane Warner Plaza

Jane Warner Plaza. Credit: Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (CBD)

Their fears are not without merit. In February, the above plaza was temporary closed due to "really bad behavior." After being redesigned, it has since reopened.

At least one parklet "became a haven for homelessness and illegal activity," which can result in their removal, exemplified in the Upper Haight in 2013 (and posted here). However, those appear to be the exception to the rule.

"The siblings installed a parklet at their North Beach location, which they say has been positively received by residents and other merchants of that neighborhood, and would like to do the same at their Castro location," writes Bajko.

“It turned out to be great. It was voted one of the top five prettiest parklets in San Francisco,” said Chris Newbury of their first parklet. “We have a vision for 18th Street and transforming it into a beautiful place for the neighborhood and people visiting the city.”

"Their request will be heard by the city’s Department of Public Works at a hearing in late September," notes Bajko.

Hat tip to Aaron Bialick of Streetsblog SF.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, September 3, 2015 in Bay Area Reporter
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