Thursday, March 18, 2010

City Celebrates First Parklet, 100 Gather on Divisadero

Leela Gill, former president of the North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association

More than 100 neighbors, city officials, and livability advocates gathered on Divisadero Street today to launch and celebrate San Francisco's first "parklet," a miniature version of the Pavement-to-Parks projects being developed in the city. Mayor Gavin Newsom hailed the installation of the sidewalk extension as well as the nearly completed Divisadero makeover with the new landscaping, median, lighting, and street paving. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi recalled that when he first took office in 2005 he predicted that Divisadero would be the "comeback kid corridor" and now that appears to be the case. "This 44 foot template is a pilot for projects that others will want in their neighborhoods," Mirkarimi suggested, establishing a new prediction with its fulfillment already in the works. Another parklet is expected to be completed in three weeks in the Mission district.

Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works, praised the work of Synergy Construction and city staff for completing the Divisadero revitalization seven months ahead of schedule. He added that he was pleased to see the new mini-park in the North Panhandle. "My daughter goes to school two blocks from here, I ride the 24 Divisadero nearly every day, and bike through the neighborhood," he said. Rijad Ghannam, of RG-Architecture, who provided pro bono services for the design of the parklet, touted the inspiration that he feels from working on the project. "No one ever said 'Meet me at the two non-descript blocks in front of Mojo,' but now this space will be a destination."

The installation of the mini-park involved a collaboration of several city departments and the Mayor and Supervisor's office with solid input and guidance from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Great Streets Project as well. Volunteers from the SFBC program provided essential assistance for the installation, even during a drenching rain last Friday.

With expectation of fine media coverage elsewhere today -- this was one well-covered event! -- BIKE NOPA is focusing on the remarks of former NOPNA President, Leela Gill. Leela especially praised the collaboration of NOPNA, the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, and the Divisadero Merchants Association.

Find a good reason or none at all and take a relaxing break at NOPA's first parklet!

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