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Parklets Keep Popping Up Along Valencia, Divisadero and Columbus Corridors

The new parklet on Valencia Street in front of Four Barrel coffee. Photo: Aaron Bialick

At least fourteen parklets now grace sidewalks around the city in a movement that has taken San Francisco by storm since the first one was created in March of last year. Three of the newest ones have sprouted up in front of Cafe Abir near Divisadero Street, Tony's Pizza Napoletana next to Washington Square Park, and Four Barrel Coffee on Valencia Street, which has taken a unique design approach.

The construction of new parklets is just starting to catch up with the demand, notes an article on the Great Streets Project's website. A study done in April found that 72 percent of people surveyed in the Mission, the Tenderloin, and North Beach where more parklets are planned "said that they would come to the area more or much more often if there were more public places to sit."

In the Mission District, the new Four Barrel parklet provides a standing-only coffee bar area and hanging bicycle parking, features which are intended to have a "less heavier" but more permanent feeling than other parklets, said Four Barrel owner Jeremy Tooker.

"We wanted to add an improvement and beautification to the neighborhood with the Four Barrel aesthetic" with the wood matching that of the cafe, said Tooker.

Rather than being a place to lock up a bike and stay for hours, the arrangement is designed to encourage more short-term use, he said. More bike parking will be added in the center of the parklet for a total of fifteen dedicated spaces, although Tooker estimated it would probably be able to fit over twenty bikes.

Photo: Aaron Bialick
Photo: Aaron Bialick

Stools will also be provided in the future to discourage visitors from sitting on the standing-only bar, added Tooker.

On Fulton and Divisadero Streets, a parklet was also finished two weeks ago outside Cafe Abir just a couple blocks away from the city's first one at Mojo Bicycle Cafe.

Photo: Aaron Bialick

And in North Beach, the neighborhood's third parklet was also nearly complete today, except for some greening that's being added. It fronts Tony's Pizza Napoletana on Stockton and Union Streets just across the street from Washington Square Park.

Although North Beach has long been known for its abundance of private cafe seating on its skinny sidewalks compared to neighborhoods like the Mission and the Tenderloin, the Great Streets Project's article notes that it still lacks places for non-patrons to sit and gather.

"Clearly, people enjoy gathering to relax or eat outside when seating is available," the article states. "But private café seating only benefits patrons of those businesses, not the hundreds of people walking through the neighborhood who may like a place to rest and relax."

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