No Chairs For You In The Castro Commons Before (Or After) NineJanuary 23, 2012
On the agenda for San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon, new regulations for the use of Jane Warner Plaza, also known as the 17th Street Plaza or Castro Commons, San Francisco’s first parklet to open at the intersection of Castro and 17th Streets.
As sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, a new use ordinance would prohibit sitting “on movable chairs or movable benches” in the plaza from 9pm to 9am and prohibit sleeping, camping, smoking or peddling merchandise in the plaza at any time.
The proposed restrictions will apply to Harvey Milk Plaza as well. And of course, please don’t forget to wear your pants.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
9 PM to 9 AM? That is ridiculous. I have to say Weiner is not working out to be a very impressive Supervisor.
9 till 9? What? Something against morning coffee drinkers? And what about those very rare warm evenings in the summer?
How about dusk till dawn instead?
don’t worry, like sit-lie, the intent of this new law is selective enforcement.
But, James, would it prohibit setting the movable chairs out between 9 PM and 9 AM? It seems to me that it should be up to MUMC or whoever locks and unlocks them daily to determine when the best time is. Those chairs are definitely an amenity in both the morning and in the evening (particularly on freak warm evenings).
The chairs are currently locked & unlocked by the owners of Orphan Andy’s, because they’re nice enough to do it. It’s not really clear who should officially be in charge of things like that. This legislation will be the beginning many discussions about who “owns” the parklets.
The 9am-to-9pm is about the movable chairs folks. From the link, ‘…Plazas are open and available for pedestrians 24hrs a day. However, both Plazas should be available for sitting on movable chairs and movable benches only between the hours of 9:00am and 9:00pm’.
To me, this is just trying to say when should those chairs be ‘expected’ to be out there.
I don’t have a problem with it and jeez, if I expected it to be there right at 7am or past 9pm, I think that’s being unreasonable and something I would neither expect of nearby businesses nor city employees to execute.
SS, maybe I haven’t read far enough but I don’t think sitting is prohibited as you have written. It’s about sitting on those movable chairs.
DanRH is right. It’s about the chairs, that’s it basically. The plaza is open 24/7.
So, solving a problem that doesn’t really exist?
UPDATE: The exact ordinance language to which we linked, and have added above, is indeed “both Plazas should be available for sitting on moveable chairs or moveable benches only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.” And while we could be wrong, we don’t believe that managing expectations with respect to when chairs will be available is the only intent.
With respect to sit-lie ordinance, but rejected by Supervisor Wiener, the San Francisco Police Department had actually recommended “inclusion of language about no loitering or sitting on the pavement in the plazas between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm” as the Civil Sidewalk Ordinance “is not enforceable in the ‘Pavement to Parks’ projects.”
This is such a weird vertigeal badly designed poor excuse of a “plaza”, that is laughable that there are rules and discussions in City Hall about it.
Both plazas are owned by the city but the Castro Community Benefits District (CBD), which is an organization funded by extra property taxes paid by merchants, is responsible for maintaining them both. They rely on volunteers from nearby businesses to secure the tables and chairs at night.
One problem with having no rules in these areas is that the volunteers often meet resistance from people, often intoxicated, when they try to do their jobs by locking up the tables and chairs at the appointed hour. Having official hours of availability would give them a bit more authority to point to a sign with posted hours to justify what they are doing.
Other restrictions, such as on smoking, are common-sense rules that apply to every park in SF, and should also apply to parklets and plazas to ensure that everyone can enjoy the space.
I’m happy to report that the legislation was passed on to the full board by the land use committee, by a 2-1 vote (Supervisor Mar voted against.)
Dubocian, do you mean to suggest that no smoking in parks is an actual, current law? If so, I would imagine that it has never *once* been enforced during its time on the books. I’ve seen eight SFPD park patrol cops, on their dirtbikes, cruising through Alamo Square Park (making sure everybody cleans up after their dog?), while entire groups of bums are essentially living on the basketball court and surrounding areas in the Panhandle, but I’ve never seen anyone “busted” for smoking in a park.
SS, thanks for updating your written description.
The Chief wrote:Dubocian, do you mean to suggest that no smoking in parks is an actual, current law?
Looks like it. From S.F. Gate, January 26, 2005, S.F. board votes to ban smoking in city’s parks:
I can’t cite chapter and verse of the municipal code and I am not a lawyer, but from what I’ve read this is good law.
I gave up too easily earlier. Looks like Art. 19I: Section 1009.81. Prohibiting Smoking In City Park And Recreational Areas:
Maybe its unclear that Castro Commons is just another kind of park and/or the signs aren’t up so people don’t know that smoking is prohibited, so Supervisor Wiener’s new use ordinance would help clarify things for everyone, including those folks who think that having a Prop. 215 “recommendation” entitles them to blow marijuana smoke at everybody that happens to walk by.
That’s interesting, that all smoking is prohibited and not just of tobacco, since the SFPD officially doesn’t enforce marijuana infractions. A classic San Francisco reversal, to object to the smoke but not the drug.
How about “it shall be illegal to sit in chairs when they aren’t there”. Ah, clarity and logic in the law…
“I’ve seen eight SFPD park patrol cops, on their dirtbikes, cruising through Alamo Square Park (making sure everybody cleans up after their dog?)”
When they’re on their bikes they’re either 1) training or 2) waiting to swarm down the hill into the troubled blocks near public housing. The latter happens a couple times a year, usually after there’s been a shooting and the police expect (rightly so) more violence in retribution (or if they shooters missed the first time).
@BobN, if it’s 10pm, folks are sitting in them still, and the nice volunteers need to collect them and go home – and (assume) folks in them are drunk and refuse…what then? they need something to ‘point’ to. Not always as simple as you think.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
Comments are closed.