Some San Franciscans hesitate as mayor lobbies for permanent catering parklets

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – The fate of San Francisco’s alfresco dining remains unresolved after a county committee postponed a vote to create a permanent parklet authorization system.

The delay angered the Mayor of London Breed, who threatened to take his own action if the supervisory board did not approve the measure quickly.

“The board of directors got the wrong mayor,” Mayor Breed said at a press conference on Tuesday.

She strongly supports making the shared spaces program permanent, which has allowed struggling restaurants and bars to expand their seating capacity to sidewalks and parking spaces. If the supervisory board does not adopt a permanent policy soon, she has threatened to take the issue to voters by placing it on the ballot.

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Although the program enjoys wide support from many restaurateurs and diners, what was designed to be a temporary program has sparked debate on issues of parking, accessibility and safety.

Early Saturday morning, a car crashed in the park owned by Horsefeather, a restaurant on Divisadero Street, damaging both ends of the structure.

“It was definitely reckless driving,” said Dzu Nguyen, the general manager.

No one was in the park at the time, but he acknowledges that there are some safety issues that should be addressed.

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“They were built quickly for sure,” he said of the city’s over 2,000 parks being quickly established. “There were some necessary safety restrictions that should have been in place from the start, but that’s okay. I think we’re in a position where we’re learning how to do this better.”

He said they had insurance and were planning to rebuild, themselves adding more security measures.

The County Planning and Transportation Committee is expected to review the new measure on June 7.

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