August 13, 2012

Parklet Or Piglet?

Dancing Pig Parklet

While many complain of Planning being too heavy-handed with respect to architecture and design in San Francisco, the parklet outside The Dancing Pig at 544 Castro has at least one reader wishing for some design standards that were stricter, "This is San Francisco after all, not Guerneville!" (Not that there's anything wrong with being in Guerneville.)

And playing devil's advocate with respect to restricting parking and cars in San Francisco, "...it take[s] two parking spots away in the Castro where they need more parking not less - to attract people from other hoods to come shop…eat and drink."

Damn All Those Untalented Architects To Hell! Oh, Wait A Minute… [SocketSite]
Soon To Be Sitting Pretty In A Series Of New Plazas And Parklets [SocketSite]
San Francisco Parklets Present And Proposed [SocketSite]

First Published: August 13, 2012 8:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Ride a bike

Posted by: K&L at August 13, 2012 8:58 AM

I walk past this frequently. Very poor execution on a good concept. Too bad. Also, this spot rarely gets direct sun, so come the colder months, it will be even more useless.

Posted by: Ta hoe at August 13, 2012 8:59 AM

I often see parklets and think, "So we've gone from building the Golden Gate Bridge to this?"

Posted by: kg at August 13, 2012 9:12 AM

Wow - just when you thought the Castro could not get any uglier. What were they thinking???

Posted by: FoggySF at August 13, 2012 9:23 AM

To me, it looks rather "junky".

Posted by: BayGuy at August 13, 2012 9:25 AM

looks nice to me.

And, who would be foolish enough to drive a car to the castro anyways? bus or bike. If you need a car, go move to the south bay.

Posted by: CarFree at August 13, 2012 9:32 AM

San Francisco is increasingly taking on the look of one giant DIY project. Can we please implement some standards, people?

Posted by: OP at August 13, 2012 9:33 AM

Most of these parklets seem to be always empty now that the state has ruled you can't bring alcoholic beverages out from the cafe/bar/restaurant they are in front of.

And for worst execution, the winner is Martin Macks on Haight Street, which includes brick planters on top of the wood deck and a big off color smear of quick setting concrete half on the sidewalk and half onthe parklet. For the many Irish contractors that hang out at Martin Mack's, this is not good for your portfolio.

Finally, most of these parklets have shown up since we last had a really rainy spell in San Francisco. A lot of the poorly executed ones do not appear to let the gutter flow naturally. Hoepfully they will just float away.

Posted by: redseca2 at August 13, 2012 9:35 AM

I like the idea behind parklets - giving more space to pedestrians, etc, but not the implementation. I'd much rather just see the sidewalk widened. Make it permanent.

The groan over the loss of two parking spaces is hilarious though. If there's one thing the Castro needs more of, it's pedestrian space, not parking spaces, LOL. More cabs would be nice too.

Posted by: anon at August 13, 2012 9:37 AM

Castro between Market and 19th just continues to sag. The sidewalks are permanently discolored and filthy (almost black), the trees are scattered and often ratty, store fronts come and go. I don't get Scott Weiner. He has totally dropped the ball on D8 oversite as a core value of the Harvey Milk mantle, and the condition of the Castro reflects it. Old, wrinkled and ratty. Meantime Market, heading downtown from Castro all the way to Dolores, continues to improve innovate. A total switch from the situation in the 80's & 90's.

Posted by: Stucco_Sux at August 13, 2012 9:37 AM

Sure, there are some bad parklets,or at least some parklets that some people do not like. There are also some fantastic ones that really do enhance the blocks that they are one. 2 great examples are out in the (OMG) Sunset.

Judah between 45th & 46th Ave in front of Trouble Coffee has a beautiful recycled wood parklet that has an outstanding beach vibe.

Just a few blocks over in front of Devil's Teeth Bakery, on Noriega between 45th and 46th is a more cleaned lined but no less beach inspired parklet.

Both provide needed outdoor space for local businesses, both are magnets for neighbors, families & visitors (also known as customers)and both seem to be important parts in energizing what has been a vast wasteland for food & community for many years.

Its easy to complain about parklets, but ones like these are worth a few crappy parking spaces.

Posted by: Helmut at August 13, 2012 9:46 AM

More and more of the newer parklets are just pure junk; zero quality construction and complete DIY (design) standards.

More and more it makes our city look junky. We have simply lowered our standards for class.

This would never happen in Paris or London or New York.

Posted by: futurist at August 13, 2012 10:07 AM

@futurist
yah, in paris they would just shut down the street to car traffic entirely, turn it over to pedestrians, and the restaurants and cafe's would put cute tables with umbrella's out in the middle of the street.

Which would be awesome if we could do that in our core business corridors. Until then, we have compromised solutions.

Posted by: CarFree at August 13, 2012 10:29 AM

This particular parklet is very DIY trashy. The one on Divis outside Mojo is an example of how nice a parklet can look. It includes bike parking, planters, and tables. Amazing use of two parking spots!

Paris allows plenty of DIY "bistro" pop-ups that are on par with the parklet shown in the pics. You just have to leave the 1st and 7th arr to see them (the area around Metro Oberkampf for example).

[Editor's Note: Mojo Parklet Opens Up, Divsiadero Street Improvements "Unveiled".]

Posted by: moz at August 13, 2012 10:31 AM

But isnt this SF's aesthetic? Down home, honky tonk, DIY, come as god made me, dont need no high fallutin fancy anything?

Posted by: Bob at August 13, 2012 10:35 AM

No carfree they wouldn't do what you said in Paris. that's just hyperbole. Paris has tons of cars as well, and tons of streets that cars use and need.

But Paris has style and class. We have never really had class.

Posted by: futurist at August 13, 2012 10:42 AM

Hmm, someone should hit that spot with some nails and old license plates. Perhaps some 49er mining equipment for good measure.

Editor: probably want to use a working URL there.

Posted by: EH at August 13, 2012 10:43 AM

I'm all for closing off main shopping streets to cars, putting in good public transportation (that runs all night) from neighborhood to neighborhood and building a massive garage near every neighborhood downtown.

The best of all worlds, for everyone.

Posted by: frog at August 13, 2012 10:44 AM

THE CITY THAT CAN ? I think not. These are just junky, no thought bad construction and executed eyesores that diminishes the beauty of SF. Simple tables and chairs in front of the restaurants like Europe and South America is all that is needed. FUGLY !!!

Posted by: radar at August 13, 2012 11:10 AM

...and building a massive garage near every neighborhood downtown.

The best of all worlds, for everyone.

How is a "massive" parking garage near every neighborhood good? I don't want even more cars clogging the streets and running me down when I try to cross the street.

Posted by: anon at August 13, 2012 11:16 AM

The parklets I go by frequently, Divis, Hayes, California and Fillmore, Valencia always seem to be occupied.

I believe there are two issues related to alcohol:

1) The first is California ABC licensing, and the parklet outside Magnolia on Haight is supposed to get a license by October, so it's not a matter that they can't serve alcohol, but that they need to go through the proper bureaucracy.

2) Tthey are considered public space, depending on which type of permit you get. SF does not allow drinking in public spaces.

Perhaps more has developed on that issue since I last checked.

I agree that some parklets are ugly, but many others are quite attractive. I love the program, it's a great way to make a better use of space, and even the ugliest parklet is more attractive than a couple parked cars, and from what I've seen for every one unattractive parklets there are 4-5 quite nice ones.

Posted by: lyqwyd at August 13, 2012 11:18 AM

I like the parklets, but it seems a simpler standard design would be a better idea: railing, decking, chairs and tables. Simple...and then you wouldn't have crappy ones like this.

Posted by: R at August 13, 2012 11:20 AM

THE CITY THAT CAN ? I think not. These are just junky, no thought bad construction and executed eyesores that diminishes the beauty of SF. Simple tables and chairs in front of the restaurants like Europe and South America is all that is needed. FUGLY !!!

Posted by: radar at August 13, 2012 11:28 AM

If you have no design standards, people will like some and hate some. (The one outside Delfina at Fillmore and California is great.)

If you impose some design standards, people will complain that the City has too much bureaucracy and is stifling creativity.

in short: You can't win.

Posted by: jlasf at August 13, 2012 12:07 PM

"Meantime Market, heading downtown from Castro all the way to Dolores, continues to improve innovate"

You realize that that area is in Wiener's district as well?

Posted by: wc1 at August 13, 2012 12:09 PM

The way to get new and interesting designs is to allow for experimentation.

Posted by: Mole Man at August 13, 2012 12:29 PM

I live in the neighborhood and pass this parklet frequently - more than twice per day. I have never seen anyone using it.

What kind of permit did they get for this? Is it permanent? Is there any provision for changing this back into parking spaces if no one uses the parklet? It is cold and uninviting.

Also, the restaurant isn't exactly full to capacity and needing additional seating. People hate on this restaurant on yelp.

Posted by: bgelldawg at August 13, 2012 12:55 PM

NO, the way to get new and interesting designs is to develop high quality design standards of excellence, invite ONLY qualified architects and designers to compete thru competitions, and have it juried by well qualified artists, architects, urban planners and intelligent members of the public.

This free-for-all approach of "experimentation" is precisely why we end up with such utter curbside crap in our neighborhoods.

Posted by: futurist at August 13, 2012 1:04 PM

A CITY without cars is comical. dream on. move somewhere else with all your hippy crap. so people with bikes can afford to keep the economy of this city moving and growing? i think not. people with cars are the ones who support and keep the financial engine of this city moving. GROW UP!

Posted by: Intheclouds at August 13, 2012 1:08 PM

It's funny when people insist that "people with cars" are the only ones that can afford to keep the city running-- but suggest charging market rates for parking? Heck no, they can't afford that. It needs to be subsidized!

Posted by: Alai at August 13, 2012 1:23 PM

"The way to get new and interesting designs is to allow for experimentation."

And that's one of the core themes of parklets: They're cheap and quick to set up. If they fail for any reason (attracts undesirable activity, attacts no activity, falls apart, or is just plain ugly) then there's nothing much lost. Just tear it out and restore the parking. The parklet sponsors bear the costs and are motivated to deliver a successful solution. And if they fail it is no big whoop.

This is the sort of innovative approach that the world looks towards the bay area for.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at August 13, 2012 1:57 PM

I hope someone from the City is reading this. The 2 worst Parklets in the City is located on Jones and Geary. There's 2 ugly identical parklets right across from the street from each other. 1 of them sits empty and stopped construction. The 2nd is the absolute worst. It belongs to the Hookah Lounge and there's people smoking there all night! The place is absolutely hideous. Dead plants, broken wood. Can't believe the City allows this.

Posted by: Billy Blanks at August 13, 2012 2:21 PM

The idea that anyone looks to the bay area for innovation - must less that the whole world does is profoundly funny.
The bay area, SF and its surrounding counties/cities are some of the most conservative places in the nation when it comes to architecture and design.

Posted by: Joe at August 13, 2012 2:30 PM

Man, people need to relax. Quick question: any of you that are SO offended by this willing to have taxes raised to setup a Parklet commission to review all parklets? You'll need to pay their commission and their pension. You'll also need funds to pay city-staff for parklet cleaning because now it's pretty much city organized.

And I'm not even getting to the hard part: who sits on the commission? how do you vote those folks in? how do you know if those persons can make decisions that best benefit each unique location in the city? Good luck.

I'm 100% with Milkshake. This is an experiment. Some parklets will look bad and not be used. Some will look great. Little will be paid by the city to do all of this. Let's try it for a few years and then based on community feedback, scale it back / remove it or tweak it.

It's fine to say if you hate a certain parklet, but to take 1 or 2 of these and then cast the entire system / idea and the city down the drain is being really stupid and alarmist/reactionary.

Sorry, just angers me when everyone throws a fit because something exists that they don't like but they're not willing to fix it or pay for it.

@futurist, I like your idea, but who is going to set up all that and manage that...and who will do all of that for free?

Posted by: DanRH at August 13, 2012 2:48 PM

I'm certainly not throwing a fit. I'm suggesting some legitimate, professional, highly vetted ways to create and build great parklet design. I don't have all the answers, but here are a few thoughts:

I think perhaps the Planning Commission should oversee this approach, BUT hire out the design professionals, such as the AIA, and the ASLA to establish serious design and construction criteria.

Establish high design standards.

Fees should be increased substantially to be paid for directly by the applicant business who would like a parklet in front of their for-profit enterprise. Make the fees serious to keep out frivolous requests.

Establish design competitions open ONLY to serious, qualified teams.

Experimentation is good and I support it. I support innovation; when it results in high quality art/architecture/urban design.

Trouble is when you promote experimentation for the public without serious and well thought out criteria, you end up with the kind of utter urban junk we are discussing on Castro St. Good design is not just about "try anything and see if we like it" approach. You may end up with crap that is on the sidewalk for years.

Posted by: futurist at August 13, 2012 3:15 PM

I walk by this parklet every other day and cringe. It's devastaingly ugly, dirty, and hardly anyone uses it. I hear a lot of exasperated, negative comments from locals in the neighborhood. (By way of contast, people have made their peace with the parklet at 16th and Market/Noe which is packed, and at least not a visual detriment to the street scene.)

Thank you SS for giving a forum to public venting to shame the designers and the sponsoring business. If City Hall is going to allow this sort of thing, maybe peer pressure will produce better design going forward.

Posted by: castroclone at August 13, 2012 3:18 PM

I agree with the parklet comments. They have become a blatant symbol of much of what is wrong with San Francisco. Here's my take:

We are certainly one of the most progressive, open-minded, tolerant cities in the world. That open-ness and inclusivity means everyone has a voice and place in how our city looks, evolves, grows and changes. Along with that mindset, we have developed a political climate that is fearful of offending anyone, or god forbid, taking away their rights: Example: how the homeless, bums and drug addicts continue to defy the sit-lie law,especially on Haight St.

In order to not "offend" anyone or create rules of behavior, including design, we have allowed a free-for-all approach with regard to the parklets.

Anything goes. No design standards of quality or great thinking. Cheap assembly is ok. Mix and match of used pieces of junk is ok. Anyone can slap one together with a minimal permit and few bucks.

And what we get is this utter piece of curbside trash on Castro St. and other parts of The City. And it doesn't seem to matter. And to be fair, there are some well designed parklets around, a few on Valencia.

"Hey man, it's cool. Don't get so uptight. Relax. It's good enough."

Those I blame: The Planning Department for allowing such crap to happen; and the architects/designers who attempt to push this crap on the public.

Posted by: futurist at August 13, 2012 5:49 PM

This poorly conceived idea would be unacceptable in many of the world class cities San Franciscans love to compare themselves to. London, Paris, NYC, or Chicago, I think not. Even the other much larger gay district to the south, West Hollywood, is spending a small fortune rebuilding Santa Monica Blvd with new landscaping, art, and WIDE sidewalks to allow for cafe style seating. So while everyone looks down their nose at Southern California, sometimes they understand that better design makes for better cities and THEY are willing to pay for it.

http://www.metro.net/projects_studies/pedestrian_symposium/images/Pat-Smith-SMB-Ped-Improvements.pdf

Posted by: anonarch at August 13, 2012 6:18 PM

Can someone stop using Paris as an example of everything good? As a 1/3 Parisian, I see shoddy things being built all the time there.

2 quasi-parklets I have personally seen recently in Paris:

One is a mobile parklet in Rue de la Banque. That doesn't look very safe or sturdy. Look at those plastic wheels!

This cafe addition is as well/poorly built than most SF parklets. It has been there for around 10 years (one of my previous neighborhood waterhole). It doesn't look as good in real life today though.

The economics are the same here and there. Someone has a budget according to a potential increase in business. They build the structures based on the environment and constraints.

Seriously, I think anyone should be able to experiment the way they want, as long as it's safe. Then the business will quickly see how this works. For instance, the parklet across from Cafe Revolution has been completely redesigned earlier this year. It's a living thing.

Posted by: lol at August 13, 2012 7:05 PM

Bad design happens worldwide. Do "people" like to compare cities all that much? And what's up with grafting Chicago onto everything. People in Northern California don't think about Chicago except for like eight people on Socketsite. It's a great city and all but come on. Half of it is hideous.

Posted by: Anon1 at August 13, 2012 7:15 PM

Just so useful! Not. Now let's see how long the restaurant behind it stays open. As we know, nothing lasts long in Castro. Unless it's a bar. It was better off as two parking spots. Saying that as someone who lives a few blocks from this spot.

Posted by: RJ at August 13, 2012 10:13 PM

I work across the street from the Castro Parklet monstrosity and see it all day long. You think it's bad now? When first completed it had pegboard instead of its current mesh. WTF? Pegboard, really? Why, to hang more garbage on like the trashy community bulletin boards in the area? What are they thinking?

We then watched in horror as wooden barrels filled the voids we correctly feared would have plants growing in. WTF, barrels out of some Wild West Wine Country Store in a destination urban village? So much for the Gay Design Gene. This is by far the most grotesque parklet in town––obviously someone didn't get the message that "less is more". Anyone with the most cursory design knowledge knows not to cram so many disparate elements into such a small space. It looks like one of the tragic 1980s Richmond District units that have façades comprising pebble-ine, stucco, stone, shingles and wood-strip siding. Just hideous.

Posted by: CastroVision at August 14, 2012 8:11 AM

Parklets are the greatest thing since sliced bread. What isn't to like? The whole purpose of the project was to experiment and see if the concept would work. Create easily removeable designs that can be adjusted as needed. Clearly the people have spoken on this Castro parklet. Ok, great, lets take it down and try a different location or a different design. Other parklets thrive, great, let's leave them alone. Not sure why we are blaming anyone for anything....this program is working exactly as it was intended to work. More open, public space is great for the city and its residents. If you disagree I'd love to know why.

Posted by: Karl at August 14, 2012 8:51 AM

Mesh is indeed not the best material in a city. It gets dirty very fast and the see-through property means you'll notice it right away. Also one strong enough kick in it will bump the mesh forever.

I agree with above comments that the Castro should have much wider sidewalks in the first place. Maybe the more parklets are added the stronger the incentive to make more pedestrian space made permanent.

But overall I prefer parklets over parking. Someone who drives to the Castro on week ends should expect some level of saturation. But it's not that bad as long as you're ready to climb a few blocks up on the worst times.

It's not like NV where there are only buses going there and hills can be challenging to some cyclists or pedestrians. The Castro has street cars, subway, buses, bike routes, a flat-ish configuration. The Castro can be accessed very easily by other means of transportation than cars, especially if you go there to get wasted with bottomless Mimosas ;)

Posted by: lol at August 14, 2012 8:59 AM

Id like to see the sidewalks widened along Castro from 17th - 19th and even pedestrianized on the weekends from 17th to at least 18th.

As far as parking - I live in the neighborhood and the parking and traffic on the weekend is crazy. There are tons of ways to get to the Castro and the park, no need to drive.

Posted by: wc1 at August 14, 2012 11:40 AM

Agree with the thoughts expressed by many:

1. Parklets in general are great, and most seem well used
2. This parklet is atrocious
3. All parklets are temporary experiments, and there are bound to be a few bad apples. Hopefully some lessons learned will work into the design guidelines (which do exist, although there is a lot of latitude).

As for this one: the (newish) restaurant is almost universally reviled on yelp, etc. The lack of judgement they've expressed inside (culinary-wise) has extended to the outside (design-wise) as well, starting with the fact that the parklet is constantly shaded and therefore not a desirable hangout to start with. I can't imagine the business will last long, and with it will go this unfortunate parklet.

Posted by: curmudgeon at August 14, 2012 11:47 AM

Some good thoughts on the parklets and sidewalk widening.

I certainly would support removing ALL parking on each side of Castro from Market to 18th and widening sidewalks to fill in the parking width.

I'd rather see cafe seating immediately adjacent to the restaurant rather than IN a parklet, allowing for foot traffic to continue without interruption from service/waiters bring food/drinks out to a parklet. Makes more sense.

As for completely making Castro (street) pedestrian during weekends, sure that's an awesome idea. But:

How do we deal with the electric bus 24 which is a critical north south transit line? Where would it be routed to and the cost could be tremendous. Traffic can be rerouted for the weekends, but the bus is another, more complex issue.

Thoughts?

Posted by: futurist at August 14, 2012 3:10 PM

No bus 24 would help make NV even more exclusive...

Posted by: lol at August 14, 2012 3:19 PM


Here's a deal for the car haters. Once you start paying the true cost of your mode of transit -- be that bike, bus, muni or anything else is when I will start paying for the true cost of parking.

Gesh - self important much!

Posted by: Davester at August 14, 2012 3:30 PM

Your proposal is sound futurist, especially the part about clumping the tables against the commercial buildings. I'd like to see the city get some increased revenue out of that space turned over to increase seating at businesses though. As far as I know the city gets no cash out of parklets because they're not exclusively for use by the adjacent businesses.

As for the 24 bus, it is pretty easy to make a street closed to private autos but open for transit and delivery vehicles.

Expect such a change to face strong opposition though from the businesses who feel that improved ped conditions won't offset the loss of parking.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at August 14, 2012 3:33 PM

^You don't think that we pay property taxes or sales taxes or income taxes (where the majority of money to build roads comes from)?

Posted by: anon at August 14, 2012 3:37 PM

@ lol: well, ok. but the 24 serves a huge portion of our population, not just NV. from the Marina/Pac Hts. thru the Divis corridor, thru parts of the Mission thru Bernal Heights and out to Hunters Point. That line is very important, but I wonder how it would be routed for the weekend if the City could agree to close part of Castro St.

Posted by: futurist at August 14, 2012 3:55 PM

I am a driver and a cyclist, before I get to much flaming from drivers.

Cost to society of driving is way more than what a car driver actually pays in gas or parking.

For a driver, a car will cost you more than its purchase price over its lifetime just to own it (oil changes, repairs). A bit more if you lease it or have to borrow to purchase it. Gas will also roughly cost twice the purchase cost (500 to 800 gallons/y * $4 * 20 years). Insurance can cost you 2/3 of the purchase cost over 20 years. Overall we're talking roughly 4 times the purchase cost at least.

But for society, you have to maintain roads, a chunk of the police force, emergency personel for accidents, plus all the deaths and injuries that can or cannot be quantified and all their legal consequences. Then you need to regulate the whole thing, make endless adjustments to rules and roads through studies, feeding 4 armies of bureaucrats at the city, county, state and federal levels.

Do we have similar costs on other means of transit? Sure, but they are often on a different scale. Bicycles do not cost as much to keep rolling, either to the cyclist of to society (potholes are not done by bicycles). Public transit is subsidized, but not as much as driving and by very far. For instance subways and buses bear very little medical or legal costs.

Not included in the cost is "real estate". Cars take 80% of any street either through moving traffic or parked cars. It's a diversion of a public resource.

It's only fair to reclaim some of that resource through pedestrian and cycling zones.

Again, I am a driver and a cyclist.

Posted by: lol at August 14, 2012 3:56 PM

Dear Luddites and car haters, let's all just go back to donkeys and dirt roads. I guess the fuel tax, car registration, parking tickets, etc. don't help roads? Why do some feel removing cars will solve the urban ills of San Francisco?

Posted by: oh well at August 14, 2012 4:47 PM

There are 380,000 cars registered in SF, and 60,000 trucks. This means there's roughly 1 private motorized vehicle for 2 people.

Paris has a 1 car for 3 people and has a great public transport network that mostly runs underground (imagine that!). Sure SF could afford more cars, but not that many more.

This means that if we have to plan for growth, then we have to increase alternative means of transportation. Simple math really.

Posted by: lol at August 14, 2012 5:23 PM

^^^Agreed lol, but there were comments above about removing all parking from Castro Street and I am not sure that would benefit the neighborhood. If people are so convinced that removing parking will help the city, let's start with 24th street in the heart of sacred Noe Valley, and remove the Whole Foods parking lot as well. Let them walk or ride bikes! Let's remove the car traffic and parking from Hayes Street as well!

I think many would be surprised at how many shops and restaurant patrons are coming from OUTSIDE the city. Talk to people the next time you stand at the bar at Zuni as an example. I did recently. They were from Mill Valley, Oakland, Menlo Park, Los Angeles and only one other San Franciscan (Cow Hollow). They all drove or took taxis. Nobody rode a bike or took a bus I promise you.

Posted by: anon94123 at August 14, 2012 6:15 PM

First of all what I don't like about anon94123's comment is the reference to Noe Valley being "sacred".

Why not just dispense with any negative derisions about any of our neighborhoods? When you call a neighborhood sacred you have already shown your disdain and perhaps jealousy and negative bias toward it, and the comment adds nothing to the discussion.

But if you want to remove cars from some neighborhoods, why do you want to start with NV or Hayes Valley? Reasons?

You know of course that many seniors, parents or others simply cannot ride a bike to shop. Let's dispense with that silly idea.

Removing some cars from some streets can make sense. Widening sidewalks in some very busy areas can make sense. But the "Luddites and car haters" should really balance out their ideas a bit.

It's not all or nothing. It's not and never will be all bikes and Muni or nothing. It will be, in any modern city a combination of different transit choices that fit different needs.

I personally think Muni is the one element in the equation that needs to work the hardest to improve quality and convenience before the other two will change.

Posted by: futurist at August 14, 2012 8:46 PM

@futurist, I should have posted a "Sarcasm Alert" as my reference to Noe Valley was a joke because of uproars that have taken place when similar ideas have been proposed:

http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2010/07/the_screamers_win_proposed_noe_street_plaza_doa.html

I am all for wider sidewalks and landscaping, but in a more permanent well designed realization than parklets. What I am not for is people in one neighborhood telling shopowners and residents in another neighborhood how to live "Ride a Bike!" or exist. I guess my sarcasm was not transparent. As mentioned earlier, my comment was directed to those who wrote earlier about removing ALL parking from Castro Street.

I would caution anti-car zealots to do some research as to what happens when parking and vehicles are removed from some neighborhood retail areas. The results sometimes can be positive, but most times the results are not good and streets are then rebuilt yet again to allow cars and parking. The spending dollars brought by people from outside of a neighborhood like the Castro cannot be overlooked.

Posted by: anon94123 at August 14, 2012 11:16 PM

Living without a car in NV is not very convenient. You're basically stuck with Whole Foods. In the Castro, it's much easier thanks to great public transport options and will be even easier as more businesses (WF for instance) are added along the Market corridor.

Posted by: lol at August 15, 2012 9:03 AM

futurist, your apoplectic response to anon94123 shows that the sarcastic comment was right on target. My reading was that it wasn't a "negative derisions about [your] neighborhood", but an commentary about the people in it, to wit: there would be screaming to high heaven from the hoity toity types in Noe Valley if such a proposal (removing parking) were advanced, and that's why it would never come about.

To "oh well", above at 4:47 PM:

Not TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of American communities. Highways and roads obliterate the places they are supposed to serve…
—Jane Jacobs,Dark Age Ahead
The deleterious impact of auto-centric policies is well-established in urban planning. And I do own and drive a car; I'm not a luddite or a car hater or an anti-car zealot.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at August 15, 2012 3:29 PM

Sarcastic or not, there is always some deep truth in sarcasm. People are certainly entitled to their opinions of our neighborhoods. Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights and Seacliff are far more pricey than Noe Valley. I think they are all great areas;there's no jealousy or envy from me.

And there you go Brahma: you just used the word "hoity-toity" when referring to people in Noe. I don't get it. Seems pretty irrelevant to the conversation about parking/parklets.

I'm sure there would be a lot of people and merchants in the Castro screaming about removing parking. Fact is, most neighborhoods would not like it, city wide.

Posted by: futurist at August 15, 2012 3:51 PM

^No, there is not. Sarcasm is too easy for that to be true.

Posted by: Anon1 at August 15, 2012 4:54 PM

The existence of hoity toity people in Noe Valley doesn't logically preclude the presence of hoity toity people in Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights or Seacliff.

And it is relevant to a discussion about parklets, because the entire reason this was posted today was because a reader doesn't like the way certain parklets look, described the one shown above as looking like it belongs in Guerneville, expressed a desire for stricter design standards for parklets (presumably to prevent future Guerneville-esque parklets) and contacted the socketsite editor with her complaint.

That's the kind of thing that hoity toity people do, regardless of their home neighborhood.

I completely agree with you that most neighborhoods and certainly most neighborhood retailers and restaurateurs would resist removing parking, even if it would provably increase foot traffic in exchange.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at August 15, 2012 6:28 PM

Well, ok. if you say so. I don't agree but it's all cool.

The parklet on Castro we have been discussing is definitely pretty ugly, cheaply made and does look like it belongs in the "country" maybe Guerneville or so other more casual place. But even there, good design should and does matter.

The subject parklet is just plain bad design, and cheaply made. Now, let's see how soon it gets removed and placed by a design of quality and style.

Posted by: futurist at August 15, 2012 6:44 PM

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