Proposed Sunset parklet has neighbors at odds

A proposed parklet on 9th Avenue near Arizmendi Bakery in the Inner Sunset has many neighbors and business owners up in arms.

Arizmendi submitted their application to build a parklet, a public space that is temporarily converted into sitting areas, bicycle parking or landscape features, to serve as an extension of the sidewalk. If approved, the parklet will be built in front of the business at 1331 9th Ave. and is intended to be temporary with the potential to become permanent.

“They didn’t tell us about it. I think at least they should have the courtesy to discuss it with us,” said Harry Pariser, who lives next door to the bakery. “They took advantage of a situation because they want to experiment. Let me experiment in front of their house.”

Pariser, who has lived in the neighborhood for the last 18 years, strongly opposes the project.

Each parklet approved by the city must meet eight guidelines. Those who submit an application to install a parklet are responsible for funding, managing, coming up with a design plan, and determining the square footage and how many parking spaces it will include. All parklets are still considered open to the public.

Despite a public hearing March 2 at which residents and business owners were able to voice their concerns, a decision not been made regarding the fate of the parklet project.

If approved, Arizmendi will submit a further detailed application. If the second application is approved, then Arizmendi will start raising funds to build the project.

“I have become very aware over the past few years that the sign of a good community is the spontaneous interactions they have,” said Adam Greenfield, project leader for the parklet and a member of the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors group.

Greenfield hopes that the parklet project will allow a chance for neighbors to build bonds. His main responsibility is to gather support from the wider community for the project and to deal with the planning department.

“We gathered over 1,000 signatures from residents and 36 businesses. This will be a big change in how people see public space,” Greenfield said. “I think it is going to have a huge cultural effect because people will see that this is a public space and it doesn’t have to just be used for cars.”

Jack Verdon, architect for the project, was inspired by the design of the car, according to Greenfield. The design of the project will have six spaces for bikes and benches perpendicular to the street. It will take of the space of two parking spots.

But some in the neighborhood don’t see the allure of the project.

“Parking is a big problem here. It isn’t convenient and would make parking worse. If the streets were wider it would be good a good idea,” said Su Lee, owner of the Oriental Art Gallery across the street from Arizmendi. “A lot of customers have come in and talked to me telling me they don’t like the idea.”

Lee has owned the business since 1967 and also worries about the safety of the public if the project was approved.

“I also don’t want people to get hurt while they drink coffee because people drive crazy. They think the wrong things about the use of sidewalks here,” Lee said. “Why would they want to build this up here? It seems like a danger.”

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Proposed Sunset parklet has neighbors at odds