A peek at the upcoming $26k parklet on Balboa Street

A rendering of the planned parklet on Balboa Street

Simple Pleasures Cafe at 3434 Balboa near 35th Avenue is the latest merchant in the Richmond District to sponsor a parklet, or mini park, in front of their business. On Monday, the cafe posted a rendering of the parklet on their Facebook page.

Construction began about two weeks ago but was slowed by the recent rains. Scott, a spokesperson for Simple Pleasures, said they expect the parklet to be open in about 15 days (weather permitting).

The Simple Pleasures parklet will eliminate 3 parking spaces on the block, and is the first one in the city to be built on a 1.5 degree incline. Materials include wood and concrete, and the estimated budget for the parklet is $26,000.

“It’s one of the most expensive built yet in San Francisco,” Scott said.

Parklets typically consist of seating and some greenery, and though they are usually subsidized and cared for by a specific business, the parklet space is considered public.

Parklets are part of the San Francisco Planning Department’s Pavement to Parks initiative, designed to “temporarily reclaim unused swathes of land and quickly and inexpensively turn them into new public spaces”.

This will be the second parklet in the Richmond District. The first one debuted on Clement Street near 3rd Avenue in August 2013.

Sarah B.

Construction is underway on the new parklet in front of Simple Pleasures Cafe


  1. Great photo of the construction site. All that caution tape and tarp blowing around says multitudes about san francisco development.

  2. Once it’s complete, remember that a parklet is independent from whoever built it. Parklets are public spaces, not just outdoor seating areas for their sponsors.

  3. When it is completed, I’m sure it will look great. I don’t understand why people pile on the hate on a project in progress. Plus, as Dave indicated, this is a space everyone can use, it’s not just for the restaurant. Westside neighborhoods don’t always have places for people to enjoy the outdoors and gather, so these parklets are a nice boost.

  4. Walking on Powell downtown yesterday, the only people “using” the parklets there were a couple of passed out homeless bums…. not exactly inviting, or pleasant for the locals OR tourists walking up the street.

  5. Looking forward to this. I really like the Clement street parklet space, and this will help make the outer Balboa stretch that much the nicer. Thank you to Simple Pleasures Cafe for financing this improvement.

  6. The parklet outside Devil’s Teeth Bakery on Noriega/45th is a huge success and always full of Devil’s patrons. That said, Devil’s attracts a huge crowd all day, every day. There’s no room for bums to lounge. The parklet did bring life to a desolate no-man’s land and now there are a number of wonderful new businesses there, all thriving.

  7. Great to see! Simple Pleasures was one of the first cafes I started hanging out as a teenager growing up in the Avenues. Nice, classic cafe. A parklet there would be great!

  8. BartMan, try building something like this when a storm comes through!

  9. YAY! This is really exciting. My parents live around the corner from the one on Noriega and it is a huge success. I am really encouraged to see a parklet in our neck of the woods. Major kudos to Simple Pleasures for being visionary and putting up the money to improve our neighborhood.

  10. I love Simple Pleasures, and am happy for them – however….
    Simple Pleasures was able to prevent the street planters from being installed in front of their business. This provides a significant competitive advantage to Simple Pleasures. No other business between 30th and 34th will be able to expand their seating, or put in another parklet, due to the positioning of the planters. (For example, if the Americana Cafe or Casava wanted to do this, they couldn’t because of the planters). In fact, there isn’t enough room on the sidewalks now for other businesses to put in outdoor seating without significant infringing of pedestrian spaces, thereby limiting their ability to expand.

  11. Dave – “a parklet is independent from whoever built it. Parklets are public spaces, not just outdoor seating areas for their sponsors.” Dream on….This is additional space for Simple Pleasures – pure and simple. A reduction of public parking for all other local businesses to provide a specific economic benefit to a single business enterprise. Interesting that Simple Pleasures hosts “meet and greets”for Eric Mar, and now they get this “gift”. But not a surprise. That is the way politics works in SF.

  12. How are three of the busiest parking spots on Balboa street “unused swathes of land”? How is $26,000 “inexpensive”?

  13. Parklets are great for community building. Unfortunately folks that value space for empty privately-owned vehicles to take up room aren’t generally the same folks that value community building.

    “Richmondman” is wrong – parklets ARE public spaces that attract people to the neighborhood in general. It’s not just Simple Pleasures that will benefit, but other local businesses as well.

  14. Alissa,

    Parklets are great for community building for the people who think along the same lines as the target demographic of the business hosting the parklet.

    “Empty privately-owned vehicles [that] take up room” are generally for people with POVs who use them for mobility reasons. While it’s easy for younger, healthy adults to get around by walking, biking, or public transportation, it’s not so feasible for the elderly, disabled, or folks from outside the neighborhood.

    To boot, families who shop along the corridor also benefit from parking, especially when putting money into the economy by patronizing local businesses. Not everyone can carry all their food/grocery purchases in one hand, nor can a bicycle or packed MUNI bus practically handle said persons with large purchases.

    Such an unaccomodating mentality is anything but an invite to community building. Instead of villifying people for their means of transport, you could be bridging out by helping, educating, and offering solutions for the problems that people not in your demographic experience on a day to day basis.

  15. Alissa – I am not against “parklets”, but they are what they are. Expansion of a Business (in this case Simple Pleasures) onto the street, replacing parking spaces, paid for by the Business. What I do object to is the planters themselves. They present a trip and fall hazard, reduce walking areas on the sidewalk, and their existence will prevent any other business from putting in a competing parklet, or even installing sidewalk seating. That, plus the fact that Simple Pleasures was able to prevent the planters from being installed (as originally planned) in order to provide better access to its’ “parklet”, provides an unfair business advantage to Simple Pleasures. Other businesses will NOT benefit from this parklet.

  16. Parklets provide an advantage to the business to which they are adjacent. Otherwise, why would Simple Pleasures agree to pay an annual permitting fee? I see them as an expansion of the business that’s paying the permit fee.

  17. I am happy for Simple Pleasures to have more room for its frequenters…and I am torn as to whether or not the parklet will be manipulated by SP’s guests, but I am not thrilled about less parking in the Outer Richmond. More and more parking is disappearing with the newly expanded bus stops and now this. The parking will continue to decline once the new apartment complex is built across the street where the christmas tree lot currently resides. Parking along Fulton is already a nightmare due to the out lash of car break-ins. And parking during Outer Lands…forget it.

  18. While I find private investments of public infrastructure a good thing, I find it troubling that Simple Pleasures received special treatment in not having the planter boxes installed in front of their business while other businesses did not recieve the same treatment. Parklets are considered temporary structures and will eventually be removed which will leave that space devoid of permanent greenery.

  19. Let me start out by stating I have no association with Simple Pleasures and even rarely go there for coffee. That said, let me explain to ALL the WHINERS and SNIVELERS about “simple pleasures unfair advantage.” What YOU WHINERS and SNIVELERS don’t understand is that the SP parklet plan GOES BACK YEARS. Persons have been complaining about the chairs and tables in front of SP spilling people “all over the sidewalk” and blocking the sidewalk. This was the impetus for SP to build a parklet; to THEORETICALLY get most of those persons “blocking the sidewalk” OFF THE SIDEWALK. I walked into SP back in 2012 or so after dodging the crowd in front to speak to them about building a parklet. The woman at the counter pointed out the (I assume) owner (forgot his name) and he explained the situation with the construction on Balboa, which I didn’t know about though I live in the neighborhood, and he explained that he had the permits and even the exemption on building it within a certain period but SP had to wait for the construction to finish. READ CAREFULLY (ESPECIALLY “richmondman”): THERE WAS NO – NONE – “political favoritism” BY MAR, THE PLANTER EXEMPTION WAS GIVEN BECAUSE THE PARKLET PERMIT WAS GIVEN YEARS AGO SO THE CITY GAVE THE EXEMPTION OF PLANTERS FOR SIMPLE PLEASURES BECAUSE SP HAD APPLIED SO LONG AGO. If Cassava or Purple Kow had applied for a parking permit years ago, they’d probably gotten the planter exemption too BUT UNLUCKY FOR CASSAVA AND PURPLE KOW THEY SIMPLY HAVEN’T BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS.

    Geez there are just too many LOONS (i.e. RICHMONDMAN) that stew up the most stupidest “ideas” in their simpleton brains and don’t bother to look up occam’s razor.

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