Richmond District’s third parklet debuts on Balboa near 6th Avenue

Photo by Derek

Last week, a new parklet opened on Balboa Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

A parklet, also known in city corridors as “Temporary Sidewalk Extensions”, is a small public spaces that take over one or more parking spots in the street. Parklets are privately funded, typically by an adjoining business.

This newest parklet, the third in the Richmond District, sits outside Cinderella Bakery at 436 Balboa. Constructed of wood and a stone tile floor, the parklet features benches and a large communal table with planters on the outside edges.

The parklet was designed by Gehl Studio, a San Francisco division of Gehl Architects in Copehhagen, Denmark.

The other two parklets in the Richmond District are located outside Simple Pleasures Cafe at 3434 Balboa, and Cumaica Coffee at 200 Clement Street. View the full map of San Francisco parklets

Unlike the first two parklets, this new one on Balboa is smaller in size and appears to have only taken over one parking space.

The parklet program, part of San Francisco “Pavement to Parks” initiative, is currently accepting submissions for additional parklet proposals through May 29.

Sarah B.

Photo by Derek

Photo by Derek

Photo by Derek


  1. As much as I like these parklets and think that they are a great idea, what is being done about the actual parking spots that are being lost? I don’t know about you, but I know how parking can be in this neighborhood; a pain in the rear end! And, I don’t see anyone anytime soon building a parking garage.

  2. Nice looking parklet!
    I hope it will lead to increased foot traffic in that part of the neighborhood and maybe some new businesses coming in to those empty storefronts across the street…

  3. Looks beautiful. That spot is the one real lovely hub on balboa and this was really necessary. Kvetching about one parking spot? This parklet will attract a lot more customers to balboa than one parking spot. Please. Hopefully others will see this stretch of balboa as a good spot to open. Taqueria anyone?

  4. While I’m happy to be able to finally be able to *walk* on the sidewalk outside Cinderella, rather than slowly work my way through tables & people & dogs, I’m not happy with the Cinderella staff running off folks who haven’t bought food from them. This is a PUBLIC SPACE, not a private outdoor seating area for their restaurant. We had takeout from the new pizza place (which is fabulous!) yesterday and not one, but two Cinderella employees harassed us about sitting there. Not cool, Cinderella.

  5. @Valerie – Sorry to hear that about the Cinderella staff. It is indeed a public park space and anyone, customer or not, can spend time there. Sounds like perhaps the Cinderella management needs to educate their staff on the in’s and out’s of the parklet. Hopefully they’ll get it ironed out this week.

    Sarah B.

  6. While the natural wood look is very attractive I’m concerned that a finish like that would be very hard to clean when it gets “tagged”, like what happened to the parklet on Clement some time ago. Does anyone know if the natural wood is sealed with something that facilitates cleaning in case it gets tagged?

    Or would they expect to just sand the “tagging” off and stain the wood again?

  7. @Hmm – each spot taken is a spot got for all users. I went to patronize Grinders a few weeks after it opened, and had to circle the surrounding blocks 3 times (at ~7:30 p.m.) to find a space. A couple other times I’ve gone to patronize other restaurants in those blocks, and simply given up and gone elsewhere.

    And yes, due to spouse mobility issues, we have to drive (or maybe you want to subsidize our Uber, at $5 or $7 or more dollars each way, per trip?), so while generating foot traffic sounds great, the poor parking situation in the neighborhood is already hurting businesses, and each space taken away only makes it worse.

    Of course, I must be the odd ball out anyway, as I can’t fathom why people would want to sit and eat next to whizzing traffic and lurching Muni busses in the first place.

  8. The idea is noble. The reality is not.

    These spaces end up being a grant of public funds to the restaurant or coffee houses they sit in front of.

    I have seen some restaurant’s actually set the tables as an extension of their businesses. It is also not the first time that restaurant employees have told people to go away from what are supposed to be public spaces. It has happened all over town.

    What I want to know is in addition to the obvious removal of parking for the benefit of people who live close enough to walk, and are capable of walking, what is the indirect cost of the loss of parking meter revenue? That amount at a minimum should be charged to the business that has such a space directly in front of their establishment.


  9. These spaces are not a grant, there are fees associated with the parklets. Also, the permittee is responsible for upkeep of the parklet. If a parklet permittee doesn’t allow free access to a parklet a complaint can be filed. There is an awful lot of knee jerk commenting going on here. For those who care to learn the real facts, you can read all about the parklet program on this page: http://pavementtoparks.sfplanning.org/parklets.html#parkletmanual

    I rather think the idea and reality are both noble and enjoy the opportunity to sit and enjoy my city.

    Since an awful lot of folks in this neighborhood are rather fond of parking their cars on the sidewalks, it is only far that people park their backsides on what was a parking space.

  10. Thank you Cinderella Bakery for all your efforts in getting this parklet for the public to enjoy. You have a been a great addition to the neighborhood and I was happy to sign your petition in getting this parklet approved. I can not thank you enough for adding this to the neighborhood along with your delicious menu that my family and I regularly enjoy. I can’t wait to take advantage of this parklet with a cup of coffee and piroshki!

  11. These are a tremendous advantage for those businesses with connections to get them placed in front of their establishments. Simple Pleasures has virtually doubled the amount of space they have, for virtually nothing, in a time of record rent (per square foot) increases.

    However, parklets are not the cause of parking problems in the Richmond. We have increased the number of rental units (and cars for those who live in them), and simultaneously removed off-street parking with the explosion of in-law units. I counted a 50% increase in the number of addresses on my block alone! The city wants to build even more, which is making the City less livable by the day. And now with more restaurants coming to the Outer Richmond, it will be even harder to find a place to park.

  12. The doom and gloom commenters should be ignored, as they speak out of ignorance. They aren’t worth acknowledging.

    When the Inner Sunset had a parklet created, we had similar doom and gloomers babbling on about how a small parklet was Armageddon in the making. Guess what? NONE of the doom and gloom predictions came true.

    Instead it’s another addition to the neighborhood, like our farmer’s market (again, Doom and Gloomers whined like babies about that too , and were also wrong), and the many streets that have planters with native plants along streets. People whine but when it’s done the rational majority are glad it was done, and people are happy.

    That said, I’m going to Grinder’s for lunch soon and I plan on using this parklet and if one person from Cinderella’s gives me attitude, I’m snapping their picture and filing a complaint.

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