Some San Franciscans hesitant as mayor pushes for permanent dining parklets

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The fate of San Francisco's outdoor dining remains up in the air after a county committee postponed a vote to create a permanent system for permitting parklets.

The delay angered Mayor London Breed, who threatened to take her own action if the Board of Supervisors doesn't approve the measure quickly.

"The board has messed with the wrong mayor," said Mayor Breed 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 into sidewalks and parking spaces. If the Board of Supervisors doesn't adopt a permanent policy soon, she threatened to bring the issue to voters by placing it on the ballot.

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While the program has wide support from many restaurant owners and diners alike, what was designed to be a temporary program has generated debate over issues of parking, accessibility and safety.

Early Saturday morning, a car crashed into the parklet 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 parklet at the time but he acknowledges there are some safety issues that should be addressed.

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"They were built quickly that's for sure," he said about the rapid creation of more than 2,000 parklets in the city. "There were necessary safety restrictions that should have been put in place out of the gate, but that's okay. I think we're in a position where we are learning how to do this better."

He said they have insurance and plan to rebuild, adding in more safety measures themselves.

The county Land Use and Transportation Committee is scheduled to reconsider the new measure on June 7.

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