We are big advocates and frequent users of parklets in San Francisco. Few things are better than enjoying delicious food and reading outside on a nice day in the city.

Yet some have argued that the parking spot takeover hurts nearby businesses. But now a new study says the delightful new parklets can actually keep local cash registers ringing.

A new 2011 Parklet Impact Study by San Francisco Great Street Projects seeks to understand the impact of parklets in the City. Parklets are small, public spaces that provide seating in areas previously dedicated to parallel parking spaces. The study measures pedestrian activity at parklet locations at Valencia, Beach and Polk Streets.

By looking at pedestrian trends at these locations before and after parklets where installed the Greet Street Project found that after the installations, there were higher activities of “stationary activities,” like reading and sitting. Additionally, none of the businesses located near the parklets reported a decline in business due to the loss of a parking space. More foot traffic yields more customers.

Parklets Bring Pedestrians, Enhance Community

The most obvious benefit of parklets is a space for anyone to sit. The North Beach parklet on Stockton brought an increase of 44% in hourly foot traffic. One of the study’s most interesting findings was that parklets, no matter the location, significantly increase stationary activities especially on weekdays.

Where are some of your favorite parklets in the City, and where would you like to see one installed?