City plans to create P.I.T.A. ordinance to downtown restaurant servers

Here we go again, a couple of people DT cried a river to the SFPD and now they want to make work more difficult for hospitality workers because people (or maybe the police) are to ignorant to determine obvious barriers;

Adam Roach, City Hall’s neighborhood development coordinator, said during nighttime hours when some of downtown’s popular bars are busiest, their outdoor patios can become overfilled with patrons standing on the sidewalks between the seating areas and their brick-and-mortar businesses. That clogs up the walkways for pedestrians who might be passing by.

“This came down from the police department because they had a concern that there was a lack of delineation between the sidewalk pubs and the sidewalks themselves,” Roach said.

Those concerns prompted the Community Development Department to retool its patio-lease policy for downtown businesses who pay the $35 annual fee to use the portion of right-of-way between downtown streets and downtown sidewalks. And soon, all 15 of the businesses who have that kind of lease while also holding a beer, wine or liquor licenses will begin using stanchions as barriers to better define where a patio ends and the sidewalk begins.

“A person on a sidewalk with a drink is in violation. And in the past we’ve just utilized the pink concrete as the barrier, but we all know late at night those things kind of fade,” Roach said. “(Stanchions) will provide greater visibility for our police department for patrolling activity on the sidewalks.”

First off, the obvious. There is a ‘delineation’ between the patio and sidewalk, it’s called a grooved line. It is pretty obvious. I will agree with the SFPD, there are people violating the rule, that’s a given. A better approach would be the beat cops DT educating the public for a few weeks that they need to be in the patio area. I would also be all for a large sign by the patio saying ‘ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ON CITY SIDEWALK NOT PERMITTED. ORD# ?’. Last resort would be handing out citations, which I don’t oppose either.

The problem with this is that we are expecting the business owner, who purchased a permit, an extra expense because the SFPD are not enforcing the law, which they should.

But my biggest complaint is that this will cause extra work for patio servers who will have to navigate around stanchions. While this won’t be that big of a deal for a place that just serves alcohol like the Carpenter or Lucky’s, for places like Minerva’s it is a gigantic hassle. I served patio patrons at a DT restaurant a few years ago. It sucks to begin with because you have to run food and drinks from the back of the establishment to the front, than you have to try to handle a food tray through a door, than add another barrier, give me a break. It was pretty obvious that the DT restaurant owners were not consulted, and if they were, they didn’t talk to staff. While I am OK with the alcohol only places having stanchions, the restaurants should be exempt, oh, and the cops should just do their job, that would be helpful.


#1 D@ily Spin on 06.07.18 at 7:29 pm

I’ve tried to walk around patio establishments. There are places that take the whole sidewalk. Minerva’s leaves a clear walkway between the building line and curb side tables. It seems to work well. Insofar as service between the building line and the curb, it’s public right-of-way that must be city permitted.

#2 Rachel on 06.07.18 at 10:34 pm

Do they really think a stanchion will stop people from doing what they are already doing?

#3 matt johnson on 06.08.18 at 8:41 am

Yeah because signs work so well for people who have their dogs off leash in city parks and fail to pick up dog crap there and along the sidewalks near the parks- people bring these things on themselves