Once upon a time, people filled the streets. Keeping one eye open for slow-moving horse-based vehicles, people young and old were free to walk, gather, sit, and play in the street. Of course, that changed in the 20th century when the streets become geared around automobile movement and away from people gathering. People were separated from their neighbors and forced off the streets and into their homes.
However, recently there has begun the first shoots of a return to better times. Small pockets of streets are returning to their old roles as congregating areas. Here in San Francisco, one of the most exciting new hopes is the "parklet" program. Parklets are sidewalk extensions that reappropriate parking spaces into public seating areas. In these spaces, people can sit, read, meet their neighbors and friends, and enjoy the world around them. Perhaps the most well-known example is outside Mojo Cafe on Divisadero Street, a 3-space wooden decking area with tables, chairs, and bicycle parking. It has been a huge success and the locals love their parklet.
Here in the Inner Sunset, myself and others have been working with local residents and businesses to install a parklet where it is almost certainly most needed: Outside the popular Arizmendi Bakery on 9th Avenue. Here, people frequently spill out from the bakery onto the sidewalk, blocking access for other pedestrians. So many people have said "We need gathering spaces in this neighborhood!", so some of us got together to make it happen.
Our aims with the Arizmendi parklet are to:-
1. Relieve congestion at this section of sidewalk.
2. Create the Inner Sunset's first outdoor public gathering space, a place where you don't need to be anybody's customer and which can be accessed any day and any hour.
3. Draw more foot traffic up 9th Avenue to less frequented businesses.
4. Add an attractive piece of street furniture to the Inner Sunset.
5. Encourage the development of community in the neighborhood.
Sign our Arizmendi Parklet petition and show your support!
Want to see the proposed design by local architect Jack Verdon? Voila!
Pretty nice, eh? Here's some more concept images...
I be diggin', you be diggin', we all be diggin'. And the SF Planning Department also be diggin', having recently approved our application. Victory! But we still need to demonstrate public support at a hearing later this month. We need YOU. If you support this parklet, please show it.
Sign our Arizmendi parklet Petition and take a moment to help us out. No money is needed, just a little of your time.
I'll update you on how things go at the public hearing also more about the parklet itself, including materials used, and so on.
Thank you for supporting us!