Linea Caffe customers catching up over coffee during rush hour on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The white paint on the sidewalk is where the Department of Public Works is requiring open walk space for pedestrians. Photo by Kaitlin Benz

Linea Caffe on 18th St. and San Carlos St. promises “the world’s finest coffee” for the Mission, but it has also gotten into a bit of a spat with neighbors who say the cafe’s outdoor seating encroaches into the middle of the sidewalk.

Not to fear, the Department of Public Works is on the case. Code article 5.2 allows cafes to provide customers with outdoor seating, but there has to be a minimum of six unobstructed feet for pedestrians to walk.

Linea, with four tables on San Carlos, did not have it, according to Rick Pearman from Public Works, who issued an inspector to check it out Nov. 17. The cafe attributed some of the spread into the pedestrian way to construction, which has since finished, but some residents feel it is still a challenge to get through.

Longtime Mission resident Edward Stiel says that there are easy solutions to the problem, but the cafe is not taking his concerns seriously.

“I went inside to the barista and said ‘this isn’t any good,’ and she steered me to the owner, who was there, and he didn’t care,” Stiel said. “We’re a crowded neighborhood and we have to share the space.”

In the meantime, Public Works inspection supervisor Jonathan Vaing has given Linea 10 days — or until Dec. 21 — to correct the problem.

An inspector measured and marked the area with white paint to show where the seating area cannot legally extend into.

Owner Andrew Barnett said they have purchased new tables that are 24 inches in diameter, smaller than the 36-inch diameter of the current tables.

“Our company is very conscious about being good neighbors and making sure the people can walk by,” said Barnett. “The last thing we want to do is block people from getting by.”

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  1. “The last thing we want to do is block people from getting by”. Barnett says that now because they were reported and the DPW got involved and they must comply.