In North Park, Merchants Don’t Want Vehicle Parking

San Diego’s first parklet opened in North Park a little over a year ago, in front of Caffe Calabria. Calabria’s owner, Arne Holt, paid $40,000 to get rid of two vehicle spaces in front of his business in order to build the parklet. Walking by Caffe Calabria on any given day, one is likely to see half a dozen or more people in the parklet enjoying the San Diego outdoors instead of two vehicles parked providing minimal aesthetic or financial value to the business or passersby. What do you think is both better for the business and for their customer experience?

Holt must have recognized the value of his investment as the Calabria parklet wound up taking home the 2014 Orchids and Onions award.

Caffe Calabria before (left) and today (right)
Caffe Calabria before (left) and today (right)Images via San Diego Food Stuff and OBR Architecture

Jeff Motch is one of four partners that own four business on the Uptown mesa: Blind Lady Ale House, Tiger! Tiger! Tavern, Automatic Brewing, and Panama 66. On Tuesday at the Uptown Planners special meeting he testified that he had “never once argued for (vehicle) parking”. He went on to mention that his four businesses employ 120 employees and the four businesses bring in approximately $5 million/year in revenue. Given the national accolades Motch’s businesses regularly bring in, catering to the driving crowd exclusively doesn’t seem to be a core part of his business strategy.

Having witnessed Uptown’s lack of leadership on Tuesday night, Motch and his partners has determined that he can cultivate a target audience as evidenced by his post on instagram on Tuesday night:

We ❤️bikes

A photo posted by @panama66sd on

For a list of other bike-friendly businesses in San Diego, visit the SD Bike Commuter page.