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Pavement to Parks

Parklet in Front of Mojo Cafe is a Community Destination

enjoying_mojo_2_small.jpgPeople enjoying the lingering sun at the Mojo Parklet on Saturday. Photos: Matthew Roth

Though the trial sidewalk extension "parklet" in front of Mojo Cafe has been open for just over a month, it has quickly become a community meeting place and a boon for business. The trial permit for the space lasts six months, but given the enthusiastic embrace of the parklet by the neighborhood, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that permit extended.

On Saturday, I went by and found
several groups of people clustered in the sun, which was still shining
on the former parking spaces at 2:30 p.m., long after the sidewalk had
been cast in shadow.

At one of the tables in the sun, a group of friends enjoyed food and coffee from Mojo and gushed about the space.

"It's just a nice place to catch some sun that's not Ocean Beach and cold," said Alice Howell. "We were just talking that the community in this area is pretty tight-knit; everyone kind of knows each other. You always run into each other."

Howell's friend Peter Privitera, who doesn't live nearby, said he hoped to see parklets in other neighborhoods.

As I interviewed the party of friends, Adee Horn at the table next to us echoed the sentiment that there need to be more trials like this. "On a lazy Saturday, it's a great space to sit and read a book," said Horn from behind her novel.

I asked Horn if she felt danger from passing cars or disliked the traffic noise, both of which she said she didn't notice until I brought it up. As for the loss of parking that additional parklets would entail, she said she was happy the city had done something "with the human in mind as opposed to the car. You know, I have my car and it sucks when you're looking for parking and
it takes a while, but this really should take precedence if you ask me."

As for the grade she would give the city, Horn said, "A+, except they need to do more, so A+ pending more of these around the city."

For Nick Birth, the additional parking for cyclists got his stamp of approval. "I love all the bike parking out on the mini park. It's so nice because there are a million people trying to park their bikes here, it's usually hard to park. I love how it's just like a seamless extension of the sidewalk. I think it works great." 

Remy Nelson, who owns Mojo Cafe, was thrilled with the parklet and said they haven't had any problems with vandalism or maintenance of the space, the responsibility Mojo took on for the privilege of the parklet location. "It's awesome. It's been really busy," he said. "In the summer, it's going to be insane."

Nelson said he and other businesses in the Divisadero Merchant Association would discuss the possibility of additional parklets along the Divisadero corridor at their monthly meeting. Nelson also echoed many of the sentiments of the people in the new space.

"People are having a good time, they all know each other, they're like, 'oh I saw you, I was driving by, I was riding my bike,'" he said. "Everybody sees everybody, it has that right-on-the street look, which is pretty cool."

mojo_enjoyment_small.jpgDespite adding three new bike racks to the temporary parklet, the demand for bike parking outstripped the supply.

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