Possible parklet coming to Clement near 3rd Avenue

We first heard rumors of a possible parklet in the neighborhood back in 2010, when one was being considered at 5th and Clement near Toy Boat. But that never materialized.

Alissa, the owner of Foggy Notion on 6th Avenue, sent word yesterday that a parklet is now being considered for Clement Street near the corner of 3rd Avenue. She learned about it in a a meeting on Thursday with Supervisor Eric Mar and other local business owners.

If your new to the world of parklets, they are mini “urban” parks that have been installed in parking spaces around the city. Usually they take over 2 or 3 parking spaces, and each has their own individual design. They were developed as part of the city’s Pavement to Parks program; its goal is to reclaim or offer additional public open space in areas that are lacking.

There are currently 35 parklets in San Francisco (view map), including three in the Sunset District. The Mission has the highest concentration of them along the Valencia Street corridor. Treehugger.com has a helpful overview on the parklet movement.

The space where they’re looking to install the first Richmond District parklet is on the north side of Clement Street, occupying 3 parking spaces and beginning in front of Cumaica Coffee.

The cost for constructing and installing a parklet varies, but averages around $20,000. At the meeting, Alissa said there was some discussion about funding for the parklet which has yet to be secured.

So what do you all think? Are you excited for the first parklet in the Richmond District? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

A parklet on Divisadero Street. Photo by Jeremy Shaw


  1. Totally exciting! Clement definitely lacks laces to just sit down and enjoy the street. They can’t put it in soon enough!

  2. Love it. We need one of those per block on Clement. That is a stressed street that needs a some islands… and some steam cleaning.

  3. @ Robair “That is a stressed street that needs a some islands”

    Just as long as no one votes anyone off ;^}

  4. I don’t get it– we are so close to both the Presidio and Golden Gate Park, so it’s not like the area is lacking beautiful public open space (it is lacking parking, though.) Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never really felt the urge to sit down while walking on Clement.

  5. I think all of Clement from 10th to Arguello should be closed to traffic

  6. Inner Richmond isn’t lacking in public space, especially around Clement. Presidio is only 3 blocks away, and GG Park is 5 blocks away, there’s also Muriel Leff Mini park on 10th b/t clement and geary, and there’s public space available at the library on 9th too. I’m all for resto’s like Q, Eats, Blue Danube, and Cumaica that offer some seating outside, but parking on or around clement is already ridiculous enough, we don’t need to lose parking spots to make it worse. Maybe another parking lot should come in, before a parklet is installed.

  7. I LOVE these parklets. The ones I’ve seen in the Haight and the Mission are unobtrusive to foot traffic and are well-kept and lovely to look at. Putting it right in front of Cumaica (the former Martha & Bros we see above) is a great idea for those wanting to sit and relax with their coffee and snack.

  8. More parklets, please! Personally, I’d like to see one in front of Velo Rouge Cafe at Arguello and McAllister.

    Wasn’t there talk sometime last year about putting one in front of Toy Boat? What happened to that?

  9. Parklets and the people who sit in them inevitably will lead to the total gentrification (I know it hurts to hear) of the neighborhood. Clement street is one of the last bastions of authentic San Francisco and I rue the day I have to wade through lines of assholes waiting for $5 cups of hand-crafted “artisan” coffee to get to Green Apple. Go to Mountain Lake Park if you want to picnic. I go to Clement to buy bao and Pho. As a 2nd Gen SF native, I refuse to quietly allow resident tourists forever alter the city and the very character that attracted them here in the first place.

  10. To me it seems that the coffee place has a nice selection of seating already…. giving up 3 more parking places on a street that is horrid to drive down (since a majority of shoppers to the local stores seem to drive) is not a good idea! You want a parklet? Why not try an indoor one in the old Bus Barn building, as it’s been sititing empty for years………..thanks to the no-chain rule!

  11. Sooooooo excited!!! I’ve been so envious of all the other neighborhood parklets and hope we get one as well-crafted as those at Trouble Coffee or Four Barrel! It’s great to see those spaces will be getting wider use than just for private car storage!

  12. I don’t think this is a good idea. There’s enough semi-public space on Clement already in terms of outdoor cafe seating. There’s a cafe on 3rd that already has some outdoor seating, and there’s outdoor seating at the Blue Danube, at Q, just to name a few within 2 blocks of the proposed parklet. If you want a real park the Presido and Moutnain Lake Park are just a 5 minute walk from that area.

    I just don’t see what the parklet will add to the neighborhood that is worth the cost of 20,000 and permanently giving up 3 parking spaces in an area already so short on parking spaces.

  13. Yeah, the neighborhood needs a parklet much more than the businesses being closed thanks to those ADA lawsuits.

    The neighborhood needs a parklet much more than the Jack in the Box on Geary and 10th ave. to be closed at 2 AM as the folks who live there have requested due to numerous complaints.

    The neighborhood needs a parklet much more than fixing the potholes all over the place.

    Yeah, we really need a parklet.

  14. It does not seem fiscally responsible to spend $20k on a parklet at this time – might be wise to table the matter until we address more pressing neighborhood issues like business (old and new) development, crime, and well, given the proposed area, more parking alternatives. I like the idea of parklets but not for this particular area – I do think a parklet around Velo Rouge might be nice and welcome but as I don’t live around there, I can’t say what the impact (positive/negative) may be.

  15. I live on Divisadero where the pictured parklet exists and I can assure you, it will irrevocably charge Clement from a cool, sleepy, culturally diverse neighborhood into a homogenous, 20-something wasteland, with hour-long lines for every single restaurant or coffee shop that caters to the soulless locusts that plague the rest of the city.

  16. I thought this parklet was supposed to be on the 3rd avenue side of the building not the Clement St side.

    Also — if you don’t like it, vote Eric Mar out in November. Yet again he is spending time on insignificant things rather than the major issues affecting the district.

  17. When I first read the headline, for some reason, I thought a “parklet” was a tiny parking lot. 🙂

  18. I’d prefer that the $20k be spent on plain ol’ sidewalk cleaning, versus seating in front of a cafe. BUT, I do love parklets and think they are great – just maybe not for this street/area. I love gentrification, but I think the first step should be sanitation. Clement St. is nasty.

  19. Guys, I am fairly certain the businesses are responsible for maintenance and construction of the parklet (but don’t quote me on it!)

  20. Rachel’s right. Although the parklet is open for everybody to use, the business is responsible for that $20k construction cost.

    It’s a pretty clear win for the community. We pay nothing and get a resource that will be far more used and appreciated than two measly parking spots.

  21. I absolutely hate the idea of anything fun or interesting being done in my neighborhood! So clearly I think this Parklet thingy is terrible. Why do we even need a little space there? Yosemite is only a few hours drive from here, if people want to rest they should go there and stop trying to get me to “take the bus” or “walk” down a vibrant street instead of parking. If anything we need more driving options, an elevated freeway down Clement should do the trick.

    Well I’m off to grumble about my local elected officials inability to solve all my problems.

  22. Yes please. Long overdue. Heck, I wouldn’t mind it if the whole sidewalk was widened, as there’s certainly enough traffic to justify it, but this’ll be a good step in that direction.

    It’s also a great complement to all the small takeout restaurants and dim sum joints. Many of them simply have no room to put tables outside.

    Will it lead to “total gentrification”? Every step you take that makes the neighborhood nicer is a step toward gentrification. Clean the sidewalks? Gentrification! Plant more trees? Gentrification! It doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done.

    Want to oppose gentrification? Instead of fighting what makes it nicer, fight what makes it exclusive. Allow the construction of small, modest apartments with zero parking (just like those that already exist in older buildings). They’re great for people who live, work, shop and go to school in the neighborhood, and they’re lousy for people who have lots of dough and want to commute to the south bay.

  23. That’s very well said, Alai.

    And i find myself quite happy that susan thinks Clement St. is horrid to drive down.

  24. First, a parking lot.
    Then, a parklet.
    I am disappointed by the impracticality of people who like parklets but don’t consider the implications — because I bet these same people enjoy the idea of local businesses more than the idea of boarded-up storefronts.

  25. I live very near the proposed parklet at Clement and 3rd. I am all for it! Clement St. is far too barren and lacking in visual warmth and in street trees (the few that exist on Clement are in constant danger of being removed or topped or simply sawed off).

  26. That stretch of Clement has its own MUNI line (2), two of the highest-capacity lines are a block away (1, 38), and there’s a fourth if you count the 31. Seriously, parking isn’t *that* big a priority.

  27. Parklets are not gentrification. Open space is not gentrification. Condos are gentrification. Concerns over parking spaces is gentrification. Tear up the streets I say. Underneath the pavement, the beach!

  28. Eric Mar has been sighted in the Richmond district? Whats the occasion? Think the last time he set foot here was to enjoy his VIP pass to Outside Lands. not considering running for superviser is he? think someone else already has a lock on the job.

  29. First, a parking lot. Then, a parklet. I am disappointed by the impracticality of people who like parklets but don’t consider the implications — because I bet these same people enjoy the idea of local businesses more than the idea of boarded-up storefronts.

    Um, it’s those very same local businesses that are sponsoring the parklet to the tune of thousands of dollars. Somehow I don’t think they’re doing it in order to drive themselves out of business.

    And no matter how great a parking lot would be, it would cost hundreds of times more, so it’s not really comparable. Who’s going to pay for that?

  30. The whole concept of a parklet is a bad idea all around. It eliminates parking which is vital for businesses, I can’t tell you how many times I just went somewhere else beacuse there was no parking. I also don’t get the point on why the sidewalk would need to be extended for a bench as there is plenty of room. Overall this is just an idea by someone who doesn’t worry about parking a car.

  31. We don’t need more parking. If you live in the neighborhood, you don’t need to drive to Clement. Hell, the city is small enough that it’s pretty easy to get to our neighborhood from most anywhere via public transportation. Anything to reclaim parking spaces and reduce the amount of driving–which then encourages more walking, biking and public transit–is good for us as a whole.

  32. I’d like to add that a lot of people seem to believe that it’s all some sort of ideological agenda that is driving this sort of development. It’s not. It’s simple economics– the recognition that outdoor seating and beautification has greater value than three parking spaces do. Sure, lots of people would love to have more parking–why not?–but parking simply takes a huge amount of space, and space is valuable.

    The Richmond is never going to have ample parking for everybody. We can bend over backwards to squeeze in as many cars as possible– or we can play to our strength, and reinforce it as a great pedestrian destination.

  33. I am always so baffled by the backlash at parklets and other sustainable urban design features. The three main protests I read here in this thread — that it’s a 20k expense the city can’ afford, that it contributes to gentrification, that it takes needed parking — all seem so obviously baseless to me.

    My rebuttals:
    “The city can’t afford $20k to spend on a parklet!” Right, except that the city doesn’t pay for these things, private businesses and residents do. So… this is done at no cost to the city. Clear?

    “It takes away needed parking” There are so many ways to rebut this, but for me the most obvious measure is: think about the value a parking space provides, in financial and social terms, and compare that to a parklet, and tell me which is greater. Someone who parks on Clement may in fact be spending money, but does this really outweigh the net increase in spending that more foot traffic would create? Definitely not. Also, who benefits from parking spaces – local residents or visitors? Visitors, obviously, since anyone between the parks and Arguello/Park Presidio can walk to Clement easily.

    “It contributes to gentrification” OK then, so how would you propose improving our city then? Any city improvements are going to, by definition, make this a nicer place to live. And nicer places to live do in fact attract people, creating a virtuous cycle or urban improvement (see SOMA, for example). I agree that this can create concerns about pricing out original residents, such as in the Fillmore. But preventing urban space improvements is not the way to address this – that’s similar to saying: let’s leave that pothole unfilled, the uglier it is, the less chance the hipsters will move here.

    Overall I am really in favor of parklets. The loss of a handful of parking spots is so minor and inconvenience compared to the financial and social benefit of having a parklet.

  34. They’ll need to move the parklet at least one parking spot to the left as one of the rules is that parklets can’t extend into the end of the block. There must be at least one parking spot at the intersection.

  35. I am one of Supervisor Mar’s legislative aides and I attended this meeting; I have really enjoyed this conversation over the past few days. I thought that I would share some details about the reality of this project.

    First, this project is business-owner driven. We would never come into a place and remove parking spaces against someone’s will. It is because of the economic benefit of parklets that this topic came up.

    So then what is the Supervisor’s involvement in the project? The meeting mentioned in this article wasn’t just about parklets. Mar meets with inner Clement businesses owners regularly, where he learns about their needs and tries to help them achieve their goals. At this point, Supervisor Mar is helping with the permitting and navigating of City Hall so that the project can move forward.

    Second, a study was conducted last year to judge the impact of these parklets, especially the removal of parking. What is clear is that the removal of parking spaces has show no negative economic impacts. The loss of parking is off set by a number of factors, including more local customers, increased bike parking, and more stationary customers.

    Third, parklets serve an entirely different purpose than the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. While those recreation areas serve as an oasis in the urban environment, parklets immerse people within it. It allows residents a place to feel more connected to their community by providing them more space within it.

    Finally, per Archie Leach’s comment, you’re right! The plan offsets this by having bike parking on the street corner which satisfies the rule.

    I hope the conversation here continues. And if anyone would like to contact our office directly, e-mail me at Peter. Lauterborn@sfgov.org. I would love to hear from you.

  36. It’s a nice idea for Union, Chestnut et. al, all the chic-chic la la shopping streets of San Francisco, but for Clement St. and for the weekend suburbanite shoppers who come to get their weekly Chinese groceries, it means 3 less parking spaces in a street already lacking in sufficient parking.

    And don’t get me started on the homeless and their “turf” in the Richmond District! Someone is bound to use the parklet as their turf during the overnight hours, so the owners will have more than the $20K start up costs to contend with. It’s best just to leave the spaces alone as is. All the hipsters that love these things need to move to Marin County or Colorado, where they have better access to nature. You want nature, don’t live in a city with other people.

  37. Actually, there’s parking in the neighborhood; just not exactly on the block you want to be on. I always see empty spots down near Funston (specifically in front of Thidwicks’ new spot), not to mention a number of empty spots in the lots I’ve walked by. Sure, it might be a bit of a walk, but it’s a nice neighborhood–you might go into more stores that you wouldn’t have normally gone to.

    (And for the record, I almost ALWAYS see empty spots in the parking lot on 18th across from the YMCA, and further on, at the lot between Gordo’s and the Grande between 23rd and 24th, and they’re pretty cheap compared to other lots and garages.)

  38. I’ll add to what “Jon C” posted and add for “Native SF’er” that trying to find a parking spot on Clement street itself IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN; chances of finding parking on Clement street are zero to nil. If you’re going to the Clement commercial district the best bet is to look for parking on the avenues that cross Clement.

    I almost never drive into Clement as I ride my bike there where I can lock my bike to a pole that is near to where I’m going to on Clement, but when I do drive into Clement I automatically know to look for parking on the avenues.

    And the whole “oh boohoo the parklet will take away the two parking spots where people will park to shop on Clement” is such a childish argument AS THE CHANCES THAT *THOSE TWO* PARKING SPOTS WOULD’VE BEEN AVAILABLE IN THE FIRST PLACE WERE ZERO!

  39. Great idea for the neighborhood! Parklets are great places to sit, relax, people-watch, read, etc, and so many have been designed in such creative and aesthetically pleasing ways. Regarding cost concerns, those are covered by the person going for the permit. And lastly, I would bet dollars against donuts that the large majority of people on Clement arrive by walking or transit, and that most of the money to businesses is not spent by people driving there. A study on Columbus Ave in N Beach showed that people who drove there spent less money per month than people who walked there or who rode a bike there. Trading some parking for a nice public amenity where sidewalks are narrow and so many people are walking is a no-brainer, for businesses and people alike.

  40. “Beautification” according to WHO? Oh, yeah…..white people…that’s who. I wonder what the Chinese families would like to see in the neighborhood. Parklet? Nope. I bet parking would come before that. Next time you think about “vinrancy” and other stupid cliche terms slung around to mask the real intent of city planners and waspy neighbors, please read this article: http://www.thebaffler.com/past/dead_end_on_shakin_street

    I love Clement Street because it is NOT a white neighborhood, catering to the tastes of “modern” SF. **** PLEASE STOP MAKING SF HOMOGENOUS AND SAVE ROOM FOR OTHER PEOPLE, CULTURES AND TASTES.

  41. “Beautification” according to WHO? Oh, yeah…..white people…that’s who. I wonder what the Chinese families would like to see in the neighborhood. Parklet? Nope. I bet parking would come before that. Next time you think about “vibrancy” and other stupid cliche terms slung around to mask the real intent of city planners and waspy neighbors, please read this article: http://www.thebaffler.com/past/dead_end_on_shakin_street

    I love Clement Street because it is NOT a white neighborhood, catering to the tastes of “modern” SF. **** PLEASE STOP MAKING SF HOMOGENOUS AND SAVE ROOM FOR OTHER PEOPLE, CULTURES AND TASTES.

  42. Chaz, you are the only the second person to use the word “vibrancy” in this thread.

    I read your article. Quote: “The federal programs of the thirties produced “art for the millions” and aimed to improve both cities and rural settlements, to make them more livable for everyone. Today, however, we have a different audience in mind. Vibrancy is a sort of performance that artists or musicians are expected to put on, either directly or indirectly, for the corporate class.”

    Well, last I checked, a wooden patio for a restaurant on a local street isn’t something you’d describe as “a sort of performance”. In fact it’s a lot closer to something “aimed to improve cities”. By the standards of that article, parklets are anything but “vibrant”.

    Maybe it’s the name that’s too twee. If we called them “street patios”, would that help?

  43. Alai,

    Appreciate the repsonse. My gripe being a native SFer is that the idea of improvement as we understand it is really only a ocncept that white culture endorses. Ask the families in Hunter’s Point what improvement looks like, and I bet it would be a low cost super-market with produce not a restaurant serving comfort food at $20/plate. Same holds true with the idea of outdoor seating, as proposed here. Clement is a predominantly Chinese neighborhood. Ask THEM what improvement looks like rather than tell them, “Hey! Outdoor seating helps solidify community (as if their community doesn’t exist or count)…we’re putting in a parklet! Isn’t is purdy?!”This is what colonizers do. They go to explore new cultures and then try an supplant theirs in it’s place. Seriously, look at my current hood of Divisadero and then think about how you’d feel if Good Noodle was replaced by some hip eatery that has lines of people waiting for mediocre brunch. That is the reality of “new” SF and I refuse to continually be pushed out to the margins of the city by transient people who want to impose their vision of SF on the rest.

  44. Hmmmm….. “Chaz”….. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and think that you’re making a blanket statement about “Clement”.

    From around in between 5th and 4th Avenues to Arguello, the businesses from 4th/5th to Arguello Avenues aren’t exactly that “Clement is Chinese”. Interesting that I read in the Richmond Review (I believe) probably last year that, I can’t exactly remember exactly the terms, but the Review wrote something to the effect that the section of Clement I mentioned was gentrifying. The report didn’t say that point blank but it pointed out the non-sino businesses moving in heavily in that section.

    I hadn’t thought about it but as I ride my bike thru Clement all the time I realized that report was correct about that section of Clement. I mean Chapeau!, Le Soleil, and Q Restaurants. The Plough and Stars. Ever notice who the clientele is of Burma Superstar?

    This parklet is gonna be located at 3rd and Clement and according to what I said and the Review wrote, what kind businesses/who do those businesses serve in that particular section of Clement? In my OPINION, it seems that parklet fits fine in that particular location. If it was to be built on say on the block between 8th and 9th, I could understand your complaint.

    Oh and if you respond to my posting, don’t ASSUME that I’m falling on the side the parklet because I’m “ethnically inclined to”.

    Oh, and as far as your use of Hunter’s Point: unless you’re not paying attention, there’s a reason the T line is being extended into Chinatown; in less than a generation, blacks in Bayview are going to be a clear minority in the Bayview…… guess who will be the majority??

    And what kinds of future businesses will prevail on 3rd St? (hint: go look at San Bruno Avenue). I myself had expected the process of “de-african-american” of Bayview to be further along than it is presently.

  45. Archie,

    I ride my bike along Clement as well! Love it. Anyway, yes Burma Superstar and it’s clientele suck in my opinion. Sure they may have suckered folks into some unjustified hype surrounding their mediocre cuisine, however just because one business caters towards the hipster contingent doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up our belongings and move to 48th and Wawona just yet 😉

    That being said, I can’t WAIT for parklets to be introduced into HP. Gonna be so funny watching that episode of KTVU news…I hope most black families DON’T sell their houses and move to the ‘burbs. SF is quickly losing all diversity and when that day comes, it’s gonna be a tragic loss.

  46. So “Chaz” how did you turn my mere mentioning Burma Superstar as having any judgemental value to it??

    So “Chaz” where did I mention anything about parklets in Hunter’s Point??

    “Chaz”: you really need to chill the fvck out.

  47. Doesn’t anybody WALK anymore?? What’s with all the car & parking lot talk? Just get off your duffs and WALK! Parking problem solved. I don’t have a car, but if I need to get somewhere super-far (say, downtown), I take a taxi. If it’s not for something like shopping downtown, then I walk everywhere. I save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in car maintenance fees, insurance, tickets, etc. Much more fun to walk. And my yearly taxi cost is very very low.

  48. I live on 2nd Avenue and am looking forward to the parklet, This project is the type that helps reinforce the sense of neighborhood and community. While the loss of parking is an understandable concern for many and I can sympathize; the opportunity to enjoy a good cup of coffee, enjoy the Autumn sunlight, and have a chat with neighbors or visitors far outweighs the negatives.

    Cumaica has a posting ::

    Help fund the Clement + 3rd Parklet by PayPal or email with questions


  49. I live on Clement St near 6th and all the comments about taking parking away…? Well I think that’s exactly what is needed! I agree with the comment about closing Clement to car traffic – it is mostly a pedestrian zone anyway, and the traffic just doesn’t flow well here. I have seen soooo many drivers with disregard to the abundant foot traffic, drivers who just don’t seem to see us in the crosswalk, and just fly right through, and everyone is struggling for parking, it is a madhouse; we don’t need MORE parking here, we need to eliminate the need for cars. Who is driving to this neighborhood, and why? That’s the real question. A parklet will be wonderful – anything that gets more cars off Clement street is fine with me.

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