SF’s ‘parklets’ trade parking for people

If all continues to go well, San Francisco’s business and resident groups (ie the crowd) will be able to trade parking spaces for revenue and quality-of-life generating spaces instead. The City’s Pavement to Parks trial program is experimenting with repurposing underutilized street space into pedestrian-only parks and plazas. Their first project, the 17th Street Plaza has already become a favorite local destination.

The positive reception has lead to its ‘Parklet‘ program, where a pedestrian platform replaces streetside parking spaces. The first trial parklet opened March 18, 2010 on Divisadero Street, and if it’s an economic and social success (it’s already an environmental one), the City will look to establish a permit system allowing any business to apply for a permit and do this on their own. Indications look pretty good if Parklet beneficiary John McDonald, co-founder of Mojo Bicycle Cafe has anything to say about it, interviewed in the Streetflims video above…

As far as I know, we are the first full operation restaurant, beer, wine, sandwiches, food, breakfast, lunch, dinner that also is attached directly, all one business, to a full service and sales bicycle shop, and now has a patio courtesy of the City and County of San Francisco.

The space is working amazing well. We’ve been packed every day since it opened. We’ve had probably a 30% increase in business already. We’ve had to hire more people.

If I had a business somewhere else and was witnessing what’s happening arouund here, I would be on the phone to the city trying to make my spot the next location.”

The City also likes to add that it’s had more ‘road diets’ (lane removals to add ped and bike facilities) than any other city in North America. Approximately 35 with more to come in the next year.

So, what’s stopping you from getting a parklet demonstration going with your city?

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