Car parking vs. parks vs. restaurant patios
Image: Herald Square, New York City. Credit.
Not every "parklet" is a park. A number of the parklets in San Francisco ("S.F. parklets: a little tour of a major trend" from the San Francisco Chronicle) are used as gathering spaces and apparently for restaurants. But many of the spaces are park-like, and not spaces for economic activity.
See the past blog entries:
-- San Francisco Sustainable Mobility Agenda presentation
-- Parallel Park in Vancouver, BC: temporary parklet
Similarly, people can eat at the public spaces created along Broadway (and other places) in New York City, but there isn't restaurant-provided "table service" at the chairs and tables.
So it's important to make a distinction about what and how these "parklets" function before they are all lauded as public spaces, even though for the most part I don't have a problem with restaurant patios capturing some parking places. See "Long Beach joins the national 'parklets' trend: Three restaurants have won city approval to convert a few highly valued parking spaces into green space. In some cities, the parklets are open to the public, but these will be for patrons' use only" from the Los Angeles Times.
A restaurant patio is still a restaurant patio.
Willa Lolif, 2 1/2, plays on the eucalyptus trunk that provides seating in the parklet at Trouble Coffee on Judah Street. Liz Hafalia / The San Francisco Chronicle.