Parklets remain / Initiative launches to beautify the city

It's Wednesday, July 14.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

The restaurant parklets that many have come to enjoy during the pandemic will remain a part of the city’s foreseeable future after a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night. 

“This is a big step forward for San Francisco that will make our neighborhoods more vibrant and help continue our economic recovery,” Mayor Breed said on Twitter

There are some quirks to the legislation. Namely, when Supervisors debated over whether the parklets should be open to the public at all hours of the day, they settled on allowing business owners to close their outdoor spaces from midnight to 7 am. For restaurants that lock up their parklets at night and don’t open until later in the day, it begs the question: What’s going to happen at 7:01 am? 

“I think we’ll be futzing with this for years to come,” Sharky Laguana, who leads the Small Business Commission and advocated for keeping the parklets, told Here/Say about the program. 

In a conversation with Laguana on Wednesday, he told me: “If I’m looking through the lens of what’s best for small business, do I think it would be best to give them maximum flexibility to do what they need to do? Of course. But there’s a lot of different people in the city with a lot of different opinions. This was a hard-fought victory… and this was the compromise that was struck.” 

And with that...onto some more news… 

In the same meeting on Tuesday, Supervisor Dean Preston called on the SFMTA to restore all of its Muni lines and service hours to pre-pandemic levels. Specifically, Preston wants to see the SFMTA’s plan for a full return by the end of August and for it to actually happen by the end of this year. So far, the department has only committed to restoring 87% of pre-pandemic services by 2023. 

“The SFMTA continues to lack a public plan to fully restore all lines and service hours to pre-pandemic levels and I remain concerned with this lack of clarity by the SFMTA and lack of transparency with the public,” Preston said.

On Wednesday, Mayor Breed announced a new initiative called Shine On SF, which according to its press release, is “designed to reignite civic pride and improve the conditions of San Francisco’s streets and public spaces.” 

The program intends to help residents connect with volunteer clean-up opportunities across the city. It will also expand current beautification efforts, like CleanCorridorsSF, and oversee projects, like making the 311 app more efficient and selecting a new, more effective trash can design. 

“We are launching Shine On SF to do more to keep San Francisco clean... and inspire everyone to do their part to make this City shine,” Breed said. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🏅 The U.S. women’s gymnastics team headed to Tokyo by way of SFO on Wednesday, and lots of fans (and airport employees with flags) were there to see them off. (Twitter

  • 🍣 The owners of Ju-Ni, a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant near Divisadero Street, announced they are opening a more casual concept in the Mission that will focus solely on handrolls. Dubbed “Handroll Project,” it’s scheduled to open in early October and will take over the space previously occupied by AL’s Deli. (Eater

And finally… 

Here/Say’s Meaghan Mitchell had a good story today about local business owner Joshua James, who opened Ocean Beach Cafe in January and is working to build the largest non-alcoholic drink the world. 

“There’s never been a non-alcoholic beverage culture in America, but now there is, and it keeps leveling itself up,” James said. 

Creating an inclusive space is also top-of-mind for the former bartender.

“You’re not being ostracized for getting a non-alcoholic beverage,” he said. “You can come here, try and enjoy all of these beverages, and still be able to walk away or drive home.”

From sources, I hear they have a pretty mean breakfast burrito as well.  

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and as a reminder, I’m going to be out the next few days on vacation. I’ll be back on Tuesday. 

Until then! - Nick B.

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