After a successful test run in North Beach late last year, San Francisco is moving ahead with allowing restaurants to add outdoor seating by expanding sidewalk frontage into reclaimed parking spaces as part of "Pavement to Parks." The first spot to enjoy additional seating capacity is the Mojo Bicycle Cafe on Divisadero, where local politicians including San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi held a press conference to bask in the warm glow of camera flashes. Occasional Curbed contributor Matt Baume was on the scene, and while he said the speeches were what you might expect, reports that besides the additional seating capacity, there is also more bike parking. (Cyclists visiting the cafe and bike shop had noted in the past that, ironically, there was little to lock up to.)
I can report that the night North Beach restos were allowed to expand last fall was a little bit of magic. The only drawback is the proximity of the seating to traffic -- without the buffer of parked cars, it takes a minute to get used to sipping a cappucino while motorists whiz past at 25 miles an hour. It's also another sign of improvements along the up-and-coming Divisadero corridor, where a new median has been planted. The "parklet" trial is scheduled to last six months, when the city will assess the impact and determine if it can be made permanent. Next up? The Toy Boat Cafe in the Inner Richmond at 4th and Clement.