ParkletMania Sweeps Cortland as Vino Rosso Seeks Parklet Approval



Is it a fad? Or is it… the fuuuuuuuuuuuture?

Suddenly, Cortland is awash in Parkletmania.

It started at Neighbor Mutsumi Takehara’s restaurant at 903 Cortland, where construction of a new parklet is now underway following a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign.  Now several neighbors alerted Bernalwood that the VinoRosso wine bar — just two blocks away from 903 — has posted notices that it too would like to install a parklet out front.

Is this a sudden shower of new-urbanist awesome? Or too much of a good thing? Or is it like one of those “End of the Universe” situations where you’ve got a Starbucks across the street from another Starbucks? Discuss.

PHOTO: Neighbor Sarah. Hat tip: @HurleyMcDingus

104 thoughts on “ParkletMania Sweeps Cortland as Vino Rosso Seeks Parklet Approval

    • There is a part of me (sorry – European genes) that dreams of 2-3 blocks of Cortland as a pedestrian zone, with a bike path. People enjoying life and establishments on the artery of Bernal. The other part acknowledges that we live in a car-centric society.

      • I have admired those European pedestrian streets — most recently in Heidelberg in June. Lovely. I also remember the many failed “pedestrian mall” experiments here in the US during the 1970s and 1980s. Arno, what do you think makes those ped-streets work so well in Europe?

  1. Vinorosso had a petiotion signed and submitted it to the city. They were finally granted and now an architect is drawing up plans to make it a very nice place.

  2. No, no, no! we need the parking on Cortland. Nice as parklets are, they take away parking, and I do my errand running on Cortland on my way to and from work and other parts of the city – with my car. No more parklets on Cortland!

  3. I love VR and Vega but yeah I think this needs to be the last one on Cortland. Err wait I thought you couldn’t consume alcohol in a parklet (?)

      • Agreed. I know they have been in the process of applying for a long time. I hope this doesn’t push them out. It would be great to have a parklet at 331 Cortland. If you can’t have wine on a Parklet, what would one do at Vino Rosso’s? It’s a wine bar….it’s not like you order coffee there. It seems like it would be better placed at Liberty if they really wanted one. At least there you could get a pastry and coffee from their bakery in back and eat it out front.

      • Well, anyone can use a parklet, they’re public space. I plan on using it for food from 331, and my coffee from ProGro right across the street.

      • You will be welcome no matter where you buy or what you bring. I do suggest you try some of their food at some time. They have happy hour at which time they have pasta at half price.

  4. This is fantastic news! Another place to mingle with our fabulous neighbors in the sunshine! I cannot comprehend the parking argument, unfortunately.

  5. Not at all like clusterbucks. Parklets transfer space from cars to people. Cars take up literally HALF the surface area of San Francisco. Garages, driveways, streets, parking lots, repair shops, dealerships…. (Admittedly, some of that is shared with public transit.) More cars = more death (accidents, disease, obesity, etc.); more space for people = more vital, lively, urban space, more community. People in cars are walled off from each other. People on foot interact with each other. Cars are killing us. Parklets = sign of life! (Better for business, too.)

    • Agree with you ~ 100%! except I don’t call car/pedestrian collisions “accidents” ….
      but you are so right, parklets allow more face to face interaction, much better for our community.

  6. Hoping this will become a signature of Bernal Heights, much applause to this idea!! It is extremely beautifying to the neighborhood and utterly enjoyable.

  7. @drlapin, not sure if that eloquent description was meant for me or not, but would just like to express my gratitude for and reinforce what you said – this is all about building upon the very special community that we have in bernal and this is yet another way to foster interaction and neighborliness. I think it’s reasonable to expect that if your priority is to run errands, best to drive elsewhere or else walk or take public transport. Very exciting time to be in bernal!

    • So you’re basically saying don’t spend money in the neighborhood? That seems strange to me. I run errands in my car to get them done quickly and to not have to drag tons of stuff with me either walking or on public transport. So instead of supporting my local Bernal Beast, should I go to PetCo where there is a large parking lot? Should I carry my 50lb bag of dog food, library books, etc on the bus or walk back to the other side of the Hill with it? I think our local businesses would be very sad to hear this.

      • Um….I don’t think I said that I don’t spend money in the neighborhood AT ALL. Not sure why you turned this into a personal assumption about me, but since you
        ‘asked:’ I almost exclusively patronize local businesses for my family (including 3 pets well known to bernal beast) including coffee, grocery shopping, gifts, books, gym, yoga, restaurants, bike servicing and now decorating my home with succulents! I do most of my errands walking; it’s a wonderful way to be active, see what’s going on in the hood and interact with neighbors. If I need to buy a 50lb pound of dog food, I usually drive to cortland (can’t recall a time when it took me more than about 5 minutes to find a spot). This really doesn’t inconvenience me enough to begrudge 1 parking spot lost by installing a parklet, but maybe you buy dog food a lot more often than I do.

      • Not sure if I have the right person but as to Bernal Beast the owner is extremely nice and will deliver or carry your dog food to your car. When I had a cat he delivered all the items I needed such as kitty litter, bed, toys, food, etc. and did not charge me extra. I still carry dog treats from Bernal Beast for the dogs in the neighborhood.

  8. As someone who drives around the city a lot doing errands and such, I haven’t noticed any more difficulty finding parking since the advent of parklets. Particularly on Valencia Street, where there are at least 3 that I can think of off the top of my head, and where parking was difficult even before parklets, paradoxically it now seems easier to find parking in the mission (at least during the day). The same is true on 24th street, which is also a notoriously difficult area to find parking, and where there are two or three parklets. Perhaps it’s the increased parking rates, or maybe people are really trying to get out of their cars and take public transportation more, but whatever the reason I have found no correlation between parklets and the availability of parking.

    I’ve actually never sat in a parklet but I like the idea of them, and it’s nice to see people taking advantage of them.

  9. The park at Vinorosso not only includes them but the art store next door. It will give people a place to meet and chat. The parking space they took away was a yellow zone and only one parking space. This will be a big boon for Cortland and Vega knows how to design so I expect a beautiful area for people to meet and greet and dog owners to relax and be near their pets. This will make Cortland even more exciting than ever. It will also bring more business to the area and Halloween should be very exciting.

  10. It’s nice of the wine place to make the effort and cover the costs, especially considering they aren’t open for most of the day.

  11. I wonder if the drivers who fly down that part of Cortland at 40+ mph (seems worse going Westbound) will slow down a bit as they approach the parklet area. let’s hope so.

    • You are right about the autos. Hopefully signs will be posted. Time will tell. One good thing is police are all around and do a very good job. I am disabled and it is amazing the number of autos that come after me when I have started to cross the street. One day a police car saw what was happening and pulled the car over. We have a bigger police presence and I for one am glad.

  12. At least the people parking on Cortland during the day are paying for the use of the spaces (unlike the freeloaders who call DPT when “strange” cars park on their streets for a few days).

    • Actually property owners pay an annual tax for their curb cut as part of the property tax bill. Even those who do or don’t call DPT…

      • How does this contradict what I said? Presumably, those with a curb cut have off-street parking. Which they pay/paid for. Which is what I was advocating. My point is that if you rely on free street parking for your vehicle, you are getting a free ride. It’s pretty nervy to complain about others who are also getting a free ride just because they don’t live on that block or aren’t known to their “neighbors.”

        I suspect these same people don’t call DPT when someone they know goes on a trip and leaves a car in place for more than 72 hours. This is locals-only BS.

        Stay classy, Bernal.

      • Please quantify “a few days” I live in an area where people love to dump their barely functioning cars for weeks on end. I see some without current license tags.
        Would you advocate calling DPT in those situations? I never have but I have neighbors who do and I support them.

      • Unregistered cars cannot park legally on the street for any amount of time. Feel free to call those in.

  13. No more parklets! Vino Rosso isn’t even open during the days. Is this even going to be used when it’s nice and sunny out? or is it just blocking two more parking spots when people need them the most? Is Vino Rosso going to have heaters out there, as nights are cold and windy on Cortland.
    There is very little parking on Cortland as it is, for the people that must drive, especially on these hills, there are many people that have no choice. And now we are losing 4 spots on Cortland. This is unnecessary and too much of a good thing.

    • First of all one of the spaces was a yellow zone. This parklet also includes the art store next door and Lisa, the owner, is very excited about it. It is going to bring the neighborhood more together and I am hopeful that it will decrease the speed of the cars that go up and down Cortland. Give it a chance. You may be surprised.

      • Why would the parklet affect the speed of traffic on Cortland? The perceived width of the street will be about the same whether it’s a car or parklet there. And how can you order food from VR if they aren’t open? The most usable hours for a parklet in the Cortland wind corridor don’t correspond to their business hours.

      • I am hopeful autos will be more aware since people will be sitting in the street. Secondly, Vinorosso is open at 4PM Mon thru Fri and Sun at 3PM. Further, no one knows what they have planned one the parklet is set up. Please be patient and wait and see. There could be lots of changes. No one knows what they are up to.

      • Exactly. No one knows what they’re up to, and it’s public space.

        I have nothing against the owner of VR; she’s added a lot to Cortland. How would you feel about opening a parklet in the library playground which replaces part of the play structure? Lots of folks in Bernal don’t have kids, and that play structure isn’t doing anything for *them* so who cares, right? Besides, those kids will still have some of the play structure left, so just deal, okay? .

      • Nonsense. This parklet is going to be a great addition to Cortland. I’d prefer it were in front of 331 Cortland, but even here is nice. A Piroshki from Ayda’s, a Coffee from ProGro, a book from Red Hill and a nice place to sit and read. Win/Win/Win/Win.

      • Just because it is a “yellow zone” does not mean it is not a parking space. The commercial vehicle that used that yellow zone will still have to park somewhere too! Cars are a fact of life. As nice as parklets can be they take parking away which harms many of the businesses on Cortland. Yes people CAN walk, at least most can. What about the elderly the infirm, those with multiple small children or who work two jobs and do not have the time to hunt for a space, (manys the time where it took me 15 minutes or more to find a space on Cortland in the early evening) Stores such as Heartfelt, Succulence and BofA need the parking. Ask them if they want parking attrition in the hood?

      • Most of the trucks double park on Cortland. The yellow zone in front of Vinorosso is almost always empty except for a taxi that parks and goes to Moonlight for something to eat and a couple of trucks that deliver every other week or so. I am disabled and I walk with a walker. I walk up to the bank from Ellsworth Street. Cortland is used as a conduit to get to Bayshore. I am sorry some people do not like the idea of a parklet but I think it will enhance Cortland. No one complained about the one at 903 Cortland so why is everybody picking on Vinorosso? Vega is very community minded and she is the first restaurant to welcome kids so mothers could sit and relax. I have been in there on whiner day and there was only one time in all the time they have had it where a child misbehaved and broke a very expensive bottle of wine. People seem to think this parklet is going to be gigantic when it is going to be a small lovely place to meet, greet, sip coffee/tea and eat a bite of food. It is a public area and not exclusively for Vinorosso and the art store. Once again, give it a chance. I think people will be surprised.

    • Exactly, it is public space. VR isn’t “up to” anything besides providing a public space, that has no relation to them except physical proximity. Again: Parklets are public space, you don’t have to be using a nearby business to sit there/use the space.

      • We have parks. Half a block away we also have the library courtyard and the bench in front of the library. There is no shortage of public space on Cortland. What there isn’t any more of is parking.

        Now, if the city wants to extend metered parking half a block down the cross streets either side of Cortland, we might be on to something. If they extended it a full block either side, I might even be in favor of widening the sidewalks all the way through the commercial section of Cortland and eliminating the street parking altogether. That would be lovely. Don’t know how the neighbors on those streets would feel about it, though…

    • Not just for me, I couldn’t occupy the entire parklet by myself even if I tried. I guess a win for up to about 10 – 15 people at a time (judging by the configuration of other parklets, anyway). I still don’t understand your complaint.

      • My complaint is straightforward: There are parking spaces which will be eliminated by the parklet. In my opinion, the combined utility of the parking spaces and the revenue from the meters outweighs the value of the parklet, especially in light of the proximity of similar public space.

        Do you understand now?

      • There is only one space that will be gone. Can’t we all get together and enjoy a lovely place to sit, talk and get to know each other, It will bring people to the neighborhood thus increasing revenues for the many lovely shops we have on the street.

      • No, it still doesn’t make any sense. You seem to be complaining that a public space that is currently useable by two people (indeed, two people who happen to drive cars) at a time is being converted to a public space that is useable by 10-15 people (whether they own cars or not) at a time. That complaint seems nonsensical.

      • Carol, where will these people from other neighborhoods park when they come to Cortland? Or will they all use Muni and bicycles?

        Herr Doktor Professor, I don’t think nonsensical means what you think it means.

      • We are only losing one parking space and there is parking on the side streets. You just have to look. The Good Life has a small parking lot for their customers so if someone went in and bought something then they could finish their shopping on Cortland. I cannot believe the firestorm about this. I have seen other parklets thruout the city and they do not have problems and they have a terrible parking problem. We here are lucky. I live one block from Vinorosso and whenever I leave my place there are at least 2 to 3 places to park.

      • Yup. It’s silly nonsense. This parklet will almost certainly be a nice addition to Cortland at minimal cost.

      • Those places are available because 1) they’re metered and people can’t leave their cars there all day and 2) they aren’t taken by parklets. As for the Good Life parking lot, they pay for that lot for the convenience of their customers, not the convenience of other businesses’ customers. They are gracious, however, and seem to turn a blind eye as long as it isn’t abused. That’s certainly nice of them, but it’s better not to count on that when planning for the parking needs of our commercial district.

        Also, your proximity to Cortland suggests that you might not be as sensitive to the availability of parking as those not so close.

      • I can see how that might have been unclear. I was referring to the meters on Cortland. I rarely find open spots on the side streets during the day without circling a couple of times.

      • Try Ellsworth Street. Circling the block a couple of times doesn’t seem to be much. When I drove and went to the Marina District during the day it sometimes took me 1/2 hour to find a place if the parking garages were full.

      • That wasn’t what I was getting at, but I appreciate your desire to be neighborly and helpful, even to someone who’s been haranguing you all morning long. I agree that parking on Cortland is a breeze compared to some other neighborhoods, but as the neighborhood grows and our local businesses become more popular with those not on the hill, it will become more difficult.

        Ideally, parking on Cortland would be appropriately priced so that people don’t have to circle the block to find parking. That’s wasteful of time and energy (not to mention needlessly polluting.)

        What I was hinting at in response to the Deth Vegetable is that there are laudable ways to make Cortland more pedestrian- and business-friendly which aren’t essentially unilateral (if someone wants a parklet, it seems, they merely need to apply and pay for the permit and removal of the meters) and result from the input of the community and consider all of the demands on the finite public resource. I would happily support a process and plan of that sort. In addition to my pragmatic concerns about parklets (which others may not share), I object to the process on principle.

      • It isn’t easy to get the permit. They do an investigation before giving one. it took Vinorosso 2 months to get permission. Since there was one yellow zone and only one parking space to take and nobody complained it was issued.

      • That’s certainly your prerogative. Luckily for me, I have the dictionary on my side in this one.

      • If by “dictionary on my side” you mean “my preferences are the only sensible preferences” then you most certainly do. Cheers.

      • Sure, if it makes you happy to think that’s what’s going on.

  14. And no wine on the parklets, why are they even doing this? How is this going to help VR’s business if everyone using it is bring food and drink from elsewhere. I don’t get it….

    • Give it a chance. You can order food from them. People will be sitting there and see people going in and out and may decide to join in. Also, no one knows what they have planned.

    • Just stay in your car, Gina. It’s safe there. The rest of us will sit in this lovely parklet and enjoy the ‘hood.

      • You must really use your car a lot. Why don’t you give the parklet a chance and see what is offered? Don’t forget, the art store next door is also a part of it. Personally, I think it is good for Cortland and why isn’t anyone complaining about the one in the 900 block. They put the first one in and even tho is isn’t finished I know Vinorosso’s will look a lot better and beautify the neighborhood.

  15. This is an excellent idea. That end of Cortland Ave has been neglected for a very long time. It will be nice to bring some life into it.

  16. It is amazing to me the number of comments on the posts about parking. Although I have just recently moved to Bernal, I find the parking to be far easier than most other parts of the city. To this point I don’t think I have had to park more than a full block from my house. This would have been a miracle in other neighborhoods.

  17. knickers in a knot over the loss of one parking place. please! I’m all for a third parklet : ) re:parking and turnover-what about less restrictive yellow zone parking? most yellow zones remain vacant all day long…. unless you choose to play parking roulette that is. and I like the widening of the entire sidewalk idea too.

  18. The posted Application notice includes information on how to formally object to the parklet. has full details on parklets – very informative. I encourage all, no matter which “side” you are on, to read it.

    • You raise a fine point! Here’s a link to an overview of the parklet approval process:

      As far as I can tell, the process does not by default include any public hearing on the suitability of the location or the design of the structure. Instead, someone must notice the less than obvious notifications and register an objection. Please note that if someone wants to add a deck to the back of their house which cannot be seen from the street and completely conforms to the planning and building codes, they must send actual plans to their immediate neighbors and then some. For this co-opting of public space, however, there is no such requirement.

      FYI, the information on the notice is incorrect. You can register an objection via snail mail at the address shown, but you cannot actually do so via phone. They do, however, accept e-mail submissions at

      • I found another website that actually show pictures of the parklets and some of them are really nice. There is one on Castro and it doesn’t seem to interfere with traffic, parking, etc and one on Valencia. The way they are done they look very attractive. Thos of you who are objecting might want to look at these places and see gor yourselves.

  19. I’m all for it as a people space and don’t think it will impact parking in that area. As place to eat with cars and exhaust going by, not so much. I’ll be enjoying my excellent Vino Rosso antipasto along with their most excellent lasagna, inside, thank you very much.

  20. oh look! A unicorn!!! y’all are odd. Nobody ever sees things the same way, why waste your time on this. Another parklet for EVERYONE to enjoy ALL day. Vega is helping foster community spirit. She only benefits when her business is open at 4pm onward. WE benefit all day long. What are you people not understanding. The amazing Inclusions Gallery and VinoRosso will both benefit from not having car and truck exhaust fumes in their establishments. The community spirit will be enhanced, keeping it local. Lighten up, enjoy life…

  21. Parklets are great, but I don’t think Cortland has the same climate at Valencia street. Who in the right mind would sit outside unless it happens to be on one of the 4 warm weekends/year we get!

    • Once again I state wait and see how it is constructed. Nobody knows. They could put up a wind block that would make it a great place to relax.. I agree the wind on Cortland is really bad but the weather is usually sunny and can be very pleasant. The one at 903 Cortland has no protection. They out in some benches and plants. Vega has great taste and I am sure the parklet at Vinorosso is going to be terrific.

    • Good to hear. I think the parklets are going to add a lot to the neighborhood and give a chance for people to get to know each other. They are public and you can sit down and get to know each other. People are always talking to me on Cortlandand I always chat with them but I do not know their names. It will be nice to get to know them.

  22. I love Vino Rosso too, but I think this is too many parklets in a short area of Cortland. I agree one by 331 Cortland would be perfect….a lot of people eating sandwiches up there with little or no place to sit. Too many parking spaces being taken away at the eastern part of Cortland if the Vino Rosso on is put in.

    • So they walk down two blocks and sit at Vinorosso. They took a yellow zone and one parking place. Why is everyone make such a big deal out of it? These parklets add a lot to the community. If done right they are attractive, comfortable to sit and those that have dogs can have the dogs with them.

      • Carol, couldn’t you make the same argument for putting a parklet at 331 instead of in front of VR?

        “So they walk down two blocks and sit at 331.”

      • No because the food Vinorosso serves is very hot and if I decide I would like a glass of wine I can walk into the restaurant and get one and sip on it inside and then go outside to finish. Besides why can’t 331 apply for a permit to put in a parklet?

      • Frankly, I think the parklets are a great idea and it is public. I do not think one more would be too many. The spacing would be perfect and one more would really fit in as long as it is in the 300 block of Cortland.

  23. A parklet on the 300 block of Cortland would be ideal but who’s going to sponsor it? The tenants of 331 Cortland probably can’t afford it (maybe they can raise the funds through Kickstarter like Sandbox did). The city also requires to be compensated for the loss of revenue from the decommissioned parking meters. Also that block is on a hill, which would make it more challenging to build a parklet.

    • So why is everyone getting all upset? Nobody mentioned it being on a hill. I wish everyone would wait and see how Vega is going to do this. I’ve known her and her husband since the day they opened and they are very community minded. My feeling is, it is going to enhance Cortland, make it great for Halloween and our fair. PLEASE, wait until you have something to complain about.

    • Farley’s on Potrero Hill on 18th St. is on an incline and is built to accomodate the angle of the incline so it’s not a problem. In the Outer Sunset there’s the parklet at Trouble Cafe and it was built to accomodate the hill it’s on as well. I know this as I’ve ridden my bicycle throughout San Francisco just to take a look at the various parklets that exists throughout San Francisco (and it’s no big deal cause I cycle to Marin and San Mateo counties all the time as well as the East Bay via BART) but I didn’t know about the parklet on Bernal. Now I’ll be taking a ride out to Cortland.

  24. Quick parklet update: The hearing for the proposed parklet in front of Vino Rosso and Inclusions Gallery was held at City Hall this morning. Vega and Lisa spoke passionately in favor of the parklet and the benefits they think it will bring to Cortland. The city’s representatives endorsed the project, and the planning rep indicated that they would pursue moving the commercial space to the other side of Cortland, near Moonlight Cafe.

    I shared a condensed version of my concerns about the impact of the parklet on parking, particularly during our weekday rush hour between 4:30 and 6:00. But, I also told the hearing officer how much I value the proprietors’ presence on Cortland.

    I expect that the parklet will be approved, pending finalization of the design.

    I got a chance to chat with Lisa and Vega afterward, and we’re all still friendly! It was, I daresay, neighborly.

    • Thanks for the update, Brandon. Mighty proud to hear stories of civic participation (showing up) and civil discourse like this.

  25. Pingback: Sexy New Parklet Completed In Front of Vino Rosso on Cortland | Bernalwood

  26. Pingback: Sexy New Parklet Completed In Front of VinoRosso on Cortland | Bernalwood

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