By Calvin Welch, HANC Board
The Haight-Ashbury is the home of another San Francisco first: the first parklet permit revoked. Martin Mack’s (web chat says its soon to be renamed “Joplin’s”) parklet, built to resemble an outsized suburban brick barbeque pit, sprung on an unsuspecting neighborhood in 2011, ended its checqured life in June when DPW revoked its permit.
The closing of the parklet should be a lesson for all who are interested: the privatization of public space is a risky business, especially when conceived as a mere extension of a business, done with little or no public involvement and failing a clear understanding of the law.
The bar owner thought he could simply extend his bar, smokers and drinkers included, to the street under the banner of being a trendy new “parklet”. He simply built the thing, seemingly designed on the run and un-burdened with any public discussion, with no clear understanding of the law governing smoking and drinking in public spaces. Other merchants tried to tell him that being built over a gutter he needed to give some design consideration to drainage. He didn’t and it soon showed (or, more correctly, smelled).