Powell St to Turn Parking Spots into Parklets

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Dec 20, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM PDT
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Powell St to Turn Parking Spots into Parklets

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The cable cars on Powell Street are about to get just a little bit more scenic with the addition of some new parklets.

The new seating and green space will extend from Ellis to Geary, connecting Union Square with the cablecar turnaround. The effort's being overseen by the Union Square Business Improvement District and, for some strange reason, Audi. Yes, the car company.

This isn't the first time that Powell has gotten some additional pedestrian space. Last year around Christmas, the city roped off some parking spots with the intention of creating more space for pedestrians. But that was a mixed success, since people were unsure what to make of the unfamiliar setup.

The new designs for Powell Street make it clear that the parklets are long-term amenities, meant for sitting and enjoying the scenery.

Powell is a busy stretch at any time of year. About a hundred thousand people use the sidewalk on the weekend, making the need for more pedestrian space increasingly urgent.

The parklets will join five others (Divisadero Parklet, 22nd Street Parklet, 24th Street Parklet at Sanchez, 24th Street Parklet at Noe, Columbus Parklet #1 and #2) and four new plazas (Castro, Guerrero Park, Showplace Triangle Plaza, Naples Green Plaza).

But not everyone loves the new pedestrian space. On Valencia Street, where Ritual Roasters wants more public space, neighbors worry that it will draw homeless people and generate noise.

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