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Posts Tagged ‘parks’

A couple of months back Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that the city intended to install a handful of “parklets” throughout the city.

A parklet isa kind of ultra mini park that would take the place of two or three successive parking spaces and would, according to the Chronicle,  “consist of raised platforms to make them level with sidewalks for seating, planters and bicycle parking.” The Chronicle also reports that each parklet will come at a cost of about $7,000.

One of these parklets is planned to go into the Richmond District at 5th Ave and Clement St., in front of Toy Boat Cafe. And it seems that that many people in the neighborhood are pretty positive about the parklet program.

And I must admit that I am a little surprised at how receptive the Richmond seems to be to this idea. Concerns about the cost and parklets usefulness aside, I have to wonder why residents and merchants would support the elimination of even a few parking spaces in an area already known for terrible parking.

The first thing I thought of was the controversial Geary Bus Rapid Transit Program. This program is a source of seemingly endless controversy in the Richmond and its primary opposition is led by merchants.

BRT opponents contend that the elimination of parking spaces on Geary will dramatically hurt their business in already tough economic times. Now, I know that a parklet only calls for the elimination of a few parking spaces on one block and BRT could potentially eliminate dozens of spaces throughout the Richmond, but all  the same no merchants seem to find this distressing.

Additionally, another big concern for BRT opponents is that they feel that Geary BRT was part of a larger effort to re-characterize the Richmond District, saying that “urban renewal” conditions were attached to the proposal. But couldn’t this parklet program easily be considered an “urban renewal” project.

Now, I’m not saying that all BRT opponents should suddenly come out against the new parklet in their neighborhood, I’m merely wondering why this proposal has gone over so easily in a neighborhood that tends to be very protective of its small businesses and wary of these kinds of city projects. What do you think?

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