Parklet O' Matic Infographic

San Francisco’s Parklet program is celebrating its fifth anniversary this spring.

Version 2.0 of the City’s Parklet Manual, “a comprehensive overview of the goals, policies, process, procedures and guidelines for creating a parklet in San Francisco,” has just been released along with a snazzy new ‘Parklet O’ Matic’ infographic.

And starting April 13, the City will begin accepting proposals for the next batch of parklets to join the fifty-plus which have already been installed in San Francisco and the thirty-five which are in the process of being permitted or designed.

The selected proposals for the city’s fifth round of parklets will be announced at the end of June.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by jamesjr

    Each parklet removes at least three parking spaces. No wonder no one can find a parking spot and tourists and locals drive around and around looking for a spot. Added to the mix is the city’s draconian laws on parking spaces in new condo and apartment construction (no more one parking spot for one unit), the moratorium on new parking structures and the parking situation will continue to spiral downward.

    • Posted by Futurist

      Good points jamesjr. Parking and congestion will only get worse as this outrageous and stupid practice continues.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Let us pity the people using those parklets to enjoy that outrageous stupidity.

        • Posted by Futurist

          If the city wants to continue allowing new parklets, then the City should accommodate each and every parking space that is lost. Many people would support public, paid parking garages. It works in Santa Monica and it would work well here.

          • Posted by James

            Great idea. Because parking was so easy in 2009 before the parklets came and took them all away.

    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      Are you saying if there is no parklet, then everyone can find a parking spot and tourists and locals don’t drive around and around looking for a spot?

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        I can only speak from personal experience – which is more than once intending to stop by a shop in the Castro or on Irving in the Inner Sunset, on my way home; and after a bit of circling geting disgusted and just going home… while parklets (such as in front of Squat & Gobble, or in front of Arizmendi) sit virtually unused.

        Add in the spaces being given over to car-share services – which again are a pure waste of space when there’s no car-share car parked there – and I’m surprised there isn’t a revolt by small business owners across the City.

        • Posted by James

          In fact most parklets are sponsored by a small business, and streetscape improvements like this do more to help businesses than parking spaces do. That’s why small businesses put them in. Pedestrians shop too.

        • Posted by Abonadon

          Cue the world’s tiniest violin. I hope to never know your pain…

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Actually 2 spots, not 3. And if you’re looking to improve parking availability then a much better place to start would be the people using RPPs for long term storage of rarely used cars. Especially the people who also have garages full of junk.

    • Posted by Brad


  2. Posted by Anon1

    Is this a joke, or is this for real?

    [Editor’s Note: It’s for real, we don’t do April fools.]

  3. Posted by Northside-Insider

    Parklets suck. That is all.

  4. Posted by lyqwyd

    Yes, how terrible to lose 0.0000001% of the available car storage space to create these wildly popular spaces for actual living humans to enjoy.

    • Posted by Geno

      Correct only zombies parallel park!

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Ah, hyperbole, last refuge of the polemist. If even just one parklet took up “0.0000001%” of the “available car storage”, that would mean there are 200,000,000 parking spaces in San Francisco.

      Parklets, bump-outs at corners, long bump-outs for Muni streetcars, and set-asides for car-share services – pretty soon parking spaces will be so rare that we’ll see tourists stopping to take photos. “Look, an ordinary private citizen can park a car here while patronizing local businesses! How droll!”

  5. Posted by lyqwyd

    We should reverse this terrible program, in fact we should pave over all our existing parks and turn them into parking lots.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      No one’s calling for that. More polemicism from you. But that said, if the City created more underground and inner-lot parking garages, then I for one would 100% support removing street parking so as to create wider sidewalks, greenscaping, and bike lanes. But the latter cannot occur in the absence of the former.

  6. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    This city wastes so much money it is obscene. A 75-page “parklet manual” listing 34 names as authors and contributors (with photo credits beyond that)? An educated guess is that this single ridiculous and useless document cost taxpayers in excess of half a million dollars to produce. And SF creates thousands of equally useless things like this each year, employing hundreds who do nothing but crank out useless stuff like this. If you ever hear anyone from the city complain about insufficient funds for Muni, or libraries, or rec & park, or police, point this out to them.

    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      A manual like this save money! It direct people to the right path and the right process. Otherwise each applicant have to be deal with individually, a lot of phone call need to be answered and a lot of meeting need to be held and the process drag on and as a result lot more money are being wasted.

      • Posted by Amewsed

        Why not just revamp the entire process and make applications completely online and seamless? Automate using technology. Banks and big corporations do it. Follow suit. Eliminate a few more city employees to cut costs. I have left numerous voice mail messages for various city employees with no call backs. The next one I will leave is an inquiry whether their next of kin have been notified because they are (brain) dead.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          its such an irony that we are the highest tech city in the world and our city govt is stuck in 1981

      • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

        If only! There will be just as many phone calls and meetings, including new ones with questions about the manual. I know very well how this city works. This cost a ton to prepare and will streamline nothing.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Well the doc probably wasn’t cheap to produce but I doubt it cost a half a mill. Most of that author list is “special thanks” which probably means that they contributed but were not paid. You see it as a waste of money though it might actually save the city cash in establishing better quality parklets. Remember, each of these parklets are privately sponsored. They cost the city almost nothing.

      I can’t see how anyone could think that this doc is useless. It contains almost all of the information needed for a private sponsor to create a successful parklet.

      • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

        They are city employees – they were paid. Granted, they may not have been paid more than their salary/benefits, but the time they took to work on this was nevertheless paid time. Add it up and it will be enormous. Far better spent on something else, and if there was nothing else for them to do, then we have too many city employees.

        “Useless” may have been too strong. It is not of absolutely zero value. But the value is pretty close to zero. And the broader point is that the city produces tons of “near-useless” stuff like this at tremendous expense. I’d rather have more Muni trains and buses, and cleaner parks for my tax dollars.

        • Posted by Orland

          You’re taxing your credibility.

  7. Posted by Oh Dear

    ahhh you don’t get it, the MTA and their bike coalition buddies WANT to make driving impossible. Then, of course, we will all ride bikes or muni. LOL

  8. Posted by Comment

    I’m not a fan of all the parklets, but I do see how they add to the quality of life in SF.

    The manual is long, but really well done.

  9. Posted by lasertag

    Love parklets! Please keep them coming as they are wonderful and add to the vibrancy of this city.
    (grumble grumble go the overweight and unhealthy curmudgeons who never get out of their cars)

    • Posted by 4h clubber

      Wait, are you implying that parklets will make people more healthy and help them to lose weight?

      I found the last picture of the children “playing” inside of one quite humorous. Who needs real parks when kids can run back and forth in a 6′ x 6′ boarded off section of the street?

      • Posted by Amewsed

        I have sat in a parklet once and felt ill at ease — it is too close to the street and somehow doesn’t quite have the same European sidewalk cafe feel. Parklets work well in pedestrian zones, not right on the side of the street. What next? Single file chairs in the center median on Van Ness.

    • Posted by frog

      I get what you are trying to say, but let’s keep weight bias out of this. I’m fat. I ride my bike most places. And I’m sick of mischaracterizations like yours.

  10. Posted by Amewsed

    At first when I looked at the graphic, I thought, “great, it is some new proposed underground public transportation route.” I looked closer and realized it is just some fancy flowchart. We have become a city of fluffers.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      … well, that would explain the Porn Armory.

  11. Posted by BigV

    I like parks better than parked cars.

    And if you really like getting around the city by car but dont like looking for parking, try getting a Lyft. Cars should be in continual use, not wasting precious public space doing nothing. A parked car is pointless — I would rather have a park.

  12. Posted by Joel

    Now the city just needs to make a fancy flowchart for something useful like, oh I don’t know, converting a garage into a retail space.

  13. Posted by Valley Dweller

    I’m with Futurist. Same thing goes for conventional parks as well. Think how much valuable parking space is being wasted at Dolores Park and Golden Gate Park. And how much better parking and congestion will improve if we simply eliminate the “outrageous and stupid practice” of encouraging pedestrian spaces

    • Posted by EcceMorons

      Better yet – let’s turn every street in SF into a park!! (with bike paths, or course) And those ugly freeways could be elevated parks! And for all the whiners who might say “Hey, there are disabled people who can’t bike or walk far” – um, we have tons of homeless people – we could employ them as rickshaw drivers on the bike paths in the parks on every former street. A win-win!

      And as for the argument that families need cars because they need to get to multiple places all day long – well, who needs families? Make the all move to the suburbs. SF needs to be a Utopia of able-bodied, young, single, bike-riding people. Everyone else is dead weight, and ruining our city!

  14. Posted by Larry

    I have to say, I love nothing more than sitting in what used to be a parking space as I inhale the heady aroma of automobile exhaust, from speeding traffic no more than inches away…while I sip my double mocha low-fat latte. It’s so much better than sitting at a table on the sidewalk outside a cafe like my grandpa used to do.

  15. Posted by moto mayhem

    im fine with the parkets we have now, but do we really need more? whats the limit? are we going to be the “parklet” city. i can think of a lot better ways to spend money.

    we ahve one on 3rd and clement in innner richmond and there are 2 homeless guys who really like it. Ive lived in inner richmond for about 5 yrs and never saw either of these homeless guys before. they are happy with the city for providing a new place to sleep. “if you build it, they will come”

    • Posted by Amewsed

      What is going on with the public parking lot o 8th Avenue between Geary and Clement? Is the City re-paving it?

  16. Posted by Orland

    Interesting article in the Chron just earlier this week about how “parklets” have spread around the world in popularity after having first been envisioned in SF a mere five years ago.

  17. Posted by frog

    Parklets are a totally half-assed solution. They have more to do with punishing people for wanting to park than any real benefit for pedestrians. The great european cities get giant squares and we get a converted shipping container to sit on. Parklets came out of the movement to reclaim land from cars, it was a political statement, not something to enhance the quality of life.

    If we want to do it right, we have to be willing to close off alleys and then focus retail and food in on them. Maiden lane is a start. I’d much rather find 10 blocks in the city to close than have hundreds of stupid parklets.

    • Posted by Anon1

      What happens if there is an automobile accident that causes a car to slam into a parklet? I would not be surprised if the SFMTA will not be marched into court to explain why they thought this was a safe solution to providing pedestrian space. With all the studies and reports they produce, where is the engineering reports showing that it is safe to be sitting within inches of cars passing by at 30mph?

      • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

        The “pamphlet” does not discuss this. They better get going on the next version. Maybe hire some traffic engineers and lawyers as consultants to cover it.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Anon1 – If you think sitting in a parklet, protected by an enclosure is unsafe then what do you think about the safety of a pedestrian standing at a corner waiting to cross the street?

        • Posted by Anon1

          Milkshake , there is a big difference between people sitting down at street level parklet hidden between parked cars, and someone walking UP on a curb protected sidewalk, with parked cars protecting them from vehicle traffic. I would rather be sitting up on a sidewalk than down amongst the traffic with only a couple of plastic flower pots for protection.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      Agreed. I used to work @ an office on Maiden Lane. When I gave out my business card, people look at Maiden Lane and smile. Look at quaint blocks like Belden Alley where it is restaurant row with outdoor seating. I had moule and frites and tapas there, Not as good as in Europe but it was nice.

      • Posted by frog

        Yes, Belden is awesome. We need more of that and less clutter and crap.

  18. Posted by Comment

    parking really heats people up on this site

    • Posted by Orland

      Don’t you know? San Francisco is a bastion of reactionary conservatism.

Comments are closed.

Recent Articles