San Francisco Couple Forced to Remove Sidewalk 'Obstruction' or Pay $1,400

A couple in San Francisco is being forced to remove their sidewalk "obstruction" — a little free library — or face a hefty fine of $1,400. The little free library has become a popular fixture in the neighborhood, but it was caught up in a crackdown on unpermitted objects that interfere with public ways.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the couple had installed the little free library without obtaining proper permits from city officials. The city has been cracking down on unpermitted objects that obstruct public sidewalks and streets as part of an effort to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians.

The little free library movement began over 10 years ago and has since grown into a global phenomenon. These small wooden boxes are filled with books that are available for anyone to borrow or exchange for another book. They have become popular fixtures in neighborhoods across the country and provide easy access to literature for people who might not have access otherwise.

The couple who installed the little free library said they were surprised by the citation from city officials. They had no idea they needed permits to install it and were only trying to do something positive for their community.

In response, many neighbors have rallied behind them, urging city officials to reconsider their decision. They argue that these small libraries promote literacy and community engagement while adding character and charm to their neighborhoods.

Despite this support, however, it seems unlikely that the couple will be able to keep their little free library on the sidewalk without proper permits. As cities continue to grapple with issues of safety and accessibility on public walkways, even seemingly harmless fixtures like these may be subject to regulation.

For now at least, this particular little free library will need to find a new home — or risk facing steep fines from city officials.