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Old Posted Aug 3, 2020, 10:07 PM
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Urban Design Critic Says SF’s Outdoor Dining Spaces Are ‘Accidents Waiting to Happen’

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by Eve Batey Aug 3, 2020, 12:45pm PDT

Since San Francisco launched outdoor dining in June, hundreds of parking spaces across the city have turned into dining areas. Typically, the loss of even one parking space in a San Francisco neighborhood is grounds for a Nextdoor.com panic, but the temporary transformation of oil-stained car storage spots into sit-down restaurant use hasn’t stirred much in the way of complaints quite yet.

Enter the SF Chronicle’s urban design critic. Since 2001, John King, a two-time Pulitzer finalist, has picked apart the city’s architecture, parks, and landscape. Today, he’s taking on restaurants that have used the city’s Shared Spaces program to take over the parking lane, warning that blocks with loads of parking-space dining are likely to “end up looking so cluttered and desperate that potential patrons won’t want to visit once the novelty wears off.”

King has many opinions on who’s doing in-the-street-dining well and who’s doing it poorly, saying that many of the spots are “accidents waiting to happen” as “padlocking a few bicycle racks together won’t repel a car whose driver turns the corner too sharply” . . . .

At the end of 2020, they must all disappear As noted all along, SF’s Shared Spaces program only lasts thought [sic] December, so these shared spaces platforms are only approved through December 31, 2020. After that, who knows?

https://sf.eater.com/2020/8/3/213529...-shared-spaces

Besides the use of parking lanes for dining, now the city is closing whole streets--wonder what he thinks of that?

Quote:
SF’s Tenderloin to receive wider pedestrian areas, play spaces amid pandemic
Megan Cassidy Aug. 2, 2020 Updated: Aug. 2, 2020 9:05 p.m.

A four-block stretch of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood will be remodeled to make room for pedestrians, a temporary project intended to allow for more physical distancing during the coronavirus pandemic . . . .

The Jones Street project will extend from O’Farrell Street to Golden Gate Avenue. It will include an additional five to eight feet of walking space, adjacent to the sidewalk borrowed from the streets and protected from traffic with concrete barriers or parked cars.

Additionally, the initiative build on the Play Streets effort, shutting down full street blocks on Saturdays so children can safely play there instead. City officials will also work with local restaurants to support outdoor dining on the blocks . . . .
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/...n-15453518.php

No mention of scraping the tent cities off the existing sidewalks.
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2020, 10:38 PM
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This is how it's done in Paris

Dining on parking spaces.

Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève, 5e by Minato ku, sur Flickr


Rue Daval, 11e by Minato ku, sur Flickr


Rue du Montparnasse, 14e by Minato ku, sur Flickr

Some street are also closed for dining.
Rue Grégoire de Tours is narrow, that seem logical but I've seen that on wider street.
Actually I believe that Rue du Montparnasse (previous exemple) is closed during dining hours.

Rue Grégoire de Tours, 6e by Minato ku, sur Flickr

Last edited by Minato Ku; Aug 3, 2020 at 10:50 PM.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2020, 10:51 PM
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I'll be honest that looks awful.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2020, 11:28 PM
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What ? Outdoor dining is the one silver lining of covid
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2020, 11:48 PM
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San Francisco has a huge homeless population, right? Do they use to ask for money or just are on the streets? If they do so, I think this outdoor dining project might not take off.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 2:22 AM
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Originally Posted by yuriandrade View Post
San Francisco has a huge homeless population, right? Do they use to ask for money or just are on the streets? If they do so, I think this outdoor dining project might not take off.
You have pretty much identified the trouble spot. I tried the "new" outdoor dining (SF has always had some sidewalk dining spots in areas where it's more "comfortable") once and as I was finishing the meal but had yet to put my mask back on, some maskless/homeless guy walks up, gets much too close, and asks if he could have the glass of water still on the table.

So I'm not inclined to keep doing it. Now I get take out and go find a spot I think is "safe" and fairly secluded to eat. As luck would have it, my very own condo has a large ground floor private outdoor space that is patroled by our security staff and if I can't find anywhere else, I can always eat there.

By the way, our homeless population isn't really that "huge". It's estimated at about 8000. But they are mostly drug addicted or mentally ill and therefore very aggressive (when not nodding out sprawled on the sidewalk) and they will bother strangers as happened to me.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 3:00 AM
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This has already happened several times in NYC this summer. But the city has guidelines on for the structures built to separate patrons from vehicular traffic (example below).



https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/p...eetseats.shtml
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 3:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuriandrade View Post
San Francisco has a huge homeless population, right? Do they use to ask for money or just are on the streets? If they do so, I think this outdoor dining project might not take off.
This was NYC, but I thought it was a picture worth 1000 words. I'm certain there were similar scenes in SF and LA.


PBRE9960 by Dennis Fraevich, on Flickr
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 3:36 AM
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Just wait until some bloke in SF takes a dump in front of the French Cuisine restaurant at the very moment one has the spoon of $24 onion soup in their mouth. That's a wrap for the day. There is no recovering after that experience. Might as well eaten at White Castle after a whiskey binge, would of been the same stomach churning event and you would of had more money in your pocket.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 4:46 AM
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Seeing the examples on the SF Chronicle, some of these are indeed pretty hideous:

Pretty makeshift-looking.


I know, let's use pallets.


Is this a construction site? No, it's dining.


Hope the soup doesn't spill out of the bowl.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 7:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
Just wait until some bloke in SF takes a dump in front of the French Cuisine restaurant at the very moment one has the spoon of $24 onion soup in their mouth. That's a wrap for the day. There is no recovering after that experience. Might as well eaten at White Castle after a whiskey binge, would of been the same stomach churning event and you would of had more money in your pocket.
Well I once sat in an Italian caffe' in SF's North Beach and watched a peregrine falcon tear a pidgeon to pieces on the sidewalk. Very entertaining, if messy.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 2:54 AM
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The reason SF's homeless seem to be such a problem is that the vast, vast majority of them are completely unsheltered--literally living on the streets--whereas most other US cities' homeless are mostly sheltered. Anyway, I ate outdoors whenever possible before COVID-19, and as soon as I feel safe, I'll do it again, even in my hometown of SF.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 7:59 PM
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Originally Posted by craigs View Post
The reason SF's homeless seem to be such a problem is that the vast, vast majority of them are completely unsheltered--literally living on the streets--whereas most other US cities' homeless are mostly sheltered. Anyway, I ate outdoors whenever possible before COVID-19, and as soon as I feel safe, I'll do it again, even in my hometown of SF.
The reasons so many of SF's homeless are "unsheltered" are endlessly debated and too complicated to debate in this thread but it isn't because the city doesn't spend money and put an effort into trying to "shelter" them. And COVID has made homeless shelters death traps. Any city still using mass shelters as opposed to individual rooms is asking for catastrophe.

Quote:
To balance the budget, [Mayor] Breed is counting on voters approving a business tax reform measure on the Nov. 3 ballot that would unlock tax revenues tied up in litigation over two voter-approved initiatives from 2018 that aimed to help the homeless and mentally ill.

The measure would also infuse about $300 million into the general fund.

Funding from November’s $487.5 million “Health and Recovery” bond would also contribute to Breed’s efforts around homelessness and mental health.

“We need housing. Lots of housing,” Breed said. “That’s why this budget funds 1,500 new units of supportive housing, which is part of our Homeless Recovery Plan to move 4,500 people from hotels, shelters and the street into housing in the next two years.”

The funding will also help The City make progress toward implementing Mental Health SF, a reform of San Francisco’s behavioral health system that was approved last year by the Board of Supervisors.

The plan includes adding more mental health beds as well as expanding staffing and services at The City’s Behavioral Health Access Center, where people are connected to programs. The budget also would fund piloting special teams of paramedics, clinicians and behavioral health peers to respond to non-emergency 911 or 311 calls.
https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/bree...san-francisco/

More mental health beds will also help with the homeless problem because so many of them are mentally ill.

Finally, the city recently settled a lawsuit brought by, among others, UC's Hastings School of the Law which sits on the fringe of the Tenderloin surrounded by the worst of the tent cities and drug bazaars. The city agreed to move 70% of those in the Tenderloininto hotel rooms and from my observation seems to have done so or at least there seems a big improvement in the affected area (though with some aggravation of it in nearby areas). Now other neighbrohoods are looking into their own suits.

This is an ongoing and never-ending fact of San Francisco life. Meanwhile, it does affect the viability of outdoor dining, no question. And so does the fact that SF is a city that often has little or no actual summer weather. Today in early August, in early afternoon, it's 70 degrees F and the "marine layer" (aka fog) has yet to lift.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
The reasons so many of SF's homeless are "unsheltered" are endlessly debated and too complicated to debate in this thread but it isn't because the city doesn't spend money and put an effort into trying to "shelter" them. And COVID has made homeless shelters death traps. Any city still using mass shelters as opposed to individual rooms is asking for catastrophe.


https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/bree...san-francisco/

More mental health beds will also help with the homeless problem because so many of them are mentally ill.

Finally, the city recently settled a lawsuit brought by, among others, UC's Hastings School of the Law which sits on the fringe of the Tenderloin surrounded by the worst of the tent cities and drug bazaars. The city agreed to move 70% of those in the Tenderloininto hotel rooms and from my observation seems to have done so or at least there seems a big improvement in the affected area (though with some aggravation of it in nearby areas). Now other neighbrohoods are looking into their own suits.

This is an ongoing and never-ending fact of San Francisco life. Meanwhile, it does affect the viability of outdoor dining, no question. And so does the fact that SF is a city that often has little or no actual summer weather. Today in early August, in early afternoon, it's 70 degrees F and the "marine layer" (aka fog) has yet to lift.
The solution to the problem is forced institutionalism. That sort of thing was killed off in the 80s though.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ineffable View Post
The solution to the problem is forced institutionalism. That sort of thing was killed off in the 80s though.
I agree with you--strongly. And CA has a law: The Mental Health Conservatorship - https://www.scscourt.org/self_help/p...ship_lps.shtml

But in liberal, lasissez-faire San Francisco, nobody wants to use it, especially government.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 3:23 AM
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Quote:
that many of the spots are “accidents waiting to happen” as “padlocking a few bicycle racks together won’t repel a car whose driver turns the corner too sharply”
But aren't sidewalks themselves accidents waiting to happen? What's to prevent someone from going around a turn too sharply and careening over the sidewalk? So what difference does it make if there are small protections for eaters when pedestrians normally don't have any protection in the first place?
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 5:19 AM
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Santa Barbara is doing these fairly well. One issue that will rear it’s ugly head the longer these stay up is accessibility. Streets aren’t generally designed to be less than 2% slope in all directions. I guarantee there are lawyers already looking into this.

At least the ability to drink a beer in the street seems to be fairly relaxed.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 7:59 AM
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Originally Posted by plinko View Post
Santa Barbara is doing these fairly well. One issue that will rear it’s ugly head the longer these stay up is accessibility. Streets aren’t generally designed to be less than 2% slope in all directions. I guarantee there are lawyers already looking into this.
That could be a problem:


https://www.google.com/search?rls=en...mdI5ysjENAFd3M
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 2:47 PM
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This has been happening in smaller cities, too. 8th Street in downtown Boise has always had sidewalk dining, but now the street will be closed to traffic. The city installed retractable bollards a couple of years ago, so they can easily block traffic.


source

People have been clamoring for this for years. There are literally dozens of restaurants along the street that need the space for social distancing, but this could be the start of a permanent change.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2020, 5:24 AM
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Manhattan Beach has done a great great job with outdoor setups as well. Pasadena too. The outdoor seating really slows streets down and let's people enjoy
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