San Francisco Business owners utilizing outdoor parklet structures under the city’s Shared Spaces program will get more time to comply with safety and accessibility changes following a unanimous vote by the city’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to extend the timeline.
In July 2021, supervisors passed legislation authored by Mayor London Breed to make the Shared Spaces program — a program that allowed businesses to operate in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic — permanent.
The legislation also mandated that the more than 2,000 businesses participating in the program update shared spaces and parklets to meet requirements of the American with Disabilities Act and other fire and safety codes by June 30, 2022.
However, on Tuesday, supervisors voted to extend the Shared Spaces permits to March 31, 2023, allowing more time for businesses to make the necessary modifications and transition into longer-term permits.
“Shared Spaces established a lifeline for our city’s small businesses during an incredibly challenging time, and as we recover from the pandemic, we need to ensure that our businesses can continue serving their communities without facing financial burdens,” Breed said in a statement. “By extending pandemic permits for another nine months, we are continuing to support our small businesses as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic.”
Ahead of the March 2023 deadline, the city will continue to conduct outreach and will only provide notices of correction in extreme cases where parklets or other shared spaces pose danger, create accessibility issues, or impede transit access. In those cases, the businesses won’t be fined as long as they work with the city to make the needed changes, city officials have said.
In addition to extending permits, the new legislation will also streamline permit approvals for the Shared Spaces program, requiring the city to review and issue permit decisions for the program within 30 days of receiving the permit application, according to city officials.