16th Street Businesses Would Like Someone to Do Something About 16th and Mission

These signs are starting to pop-up in shop windows around 16th and Mission and there's a petition directed toward City Hall to go with them:

We the undersigned are Residents, Merchants and Visitors who use the 16th and Mission Street Bart Station in our daily travels. The area around the station on this corner is deplorable.

We have lived with danger and blight on the corner of 16th and Mission for too long.  Our neighborhood deserves better access to safe, clean and walkable transportation corridors.  Please commit all resources necessary to securing this area for the good of our community, businesses, families and children.

Clean Up The Plaza's website is a little light on details as to what they want done, but we imagine they want more police presence and speedier fecal removal from the clogged escalators.  (But, really, is any of this going to accomplish anything unless all the area SROs magically disappear?)

Comments (49)

They should clean it up and put a little Abercrombie & Fitch pop-up shop there! And next to it they could have a little place you could get organic vegan fusion street food while you shopped! It’d be so yummy! And maybe place where you could get one of those quick old school beard trimmings…just make it somewhere cool to hang out!

Have you looked at the website and seen what businesses are posting the signs? It’s the bodegas and markets and taquerias right around the plaza. Like most people, they don’t feel like putting up with violence and general disgust at their home or business. They’ve had it. I don’t think you can pooh-pooh their demands by casting them off as an elitist call for government-led hipsterfication.

There is a middle ground between weekly stabbings and abercrombie, you know.
Ted, you are not alone. I’m shocked at how many people in SF feel like you do.

Ahh… perhaps this is “Ted” Gullickson from the Homeless Association that advocates to keep SF filthy?

You don’t speak for local people

Speak for yourself, the whole thing reeks of bu$iness.

The city has known about this for years, why would a petition help?

Because the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Sure, but this wheel has been squeaking for a long time.

I don’t remember an organized campaign with signs in store windows ever fighting for 16th Street and Mission . This could succeed. Plus, with the aid of your online presence and followers, an overflow crowd at the police station Captain’s meeting near the end of the month , , ,

Love it as it is. Amen.

How nice. You must have not been beaten, raped, assaulted or murdered near there, like hundreds have been over the years. Let’s ask them what they think.

Take a lesson from NYC and permanently assign about a dozen cops on foot to the intersection at all times.

Yea, and let’s get some drones done there too! And frisk everyone coming out the station, then it will be safe!

The Thursday night open-mic gathering is a pretty solid community event that utilizes the plaza. Maybe have something every day/night of the week and things we’ll clean up themselves.

This would accomplish SFPD doing the job we pay them for. They might even prevent a violent crime or two.

You can check into “Undesirables Corner” there on Foursquare. If that’s any indication.

The SROs thing was a joke, right? The disappearance of SROs in this country is probably one of the biggest reasons why the homeless population has grown out of control. They’re not a great solution, but they’re better than what we have now.

50/50: I think it would be a very bad thing for them to disappear, as they are thousands of people’s last hopes of being able to afford a roof in this town. Despite their bad rap, they serve a purpose, and not all of them are as corrupt and wicked as we hear.

But on the other hand, the high concentration of tightly-packed SROs around 16th and Mission has led to the BART Plaza becoming the de facto ‘common space’ for many of those residents. It seems those are the very people the neighbors have a problem with, and I don’t see how they’ll go away unless you straight-up criminalize impoverished people being outside or get rid of the SROs themselves.

Yep, although there is no question on what the final outcome will be. Encirclement is the most likely “how”, given that corridors along 14th and 15th street, and Mission at those streets, are changing overnight.

I think there is also a policy of containment associated with this.

That’s the problem. I’ve had the “oh-shit-I’m-a-gentrification-proponent” moment in conversation with people over the years, where I say the same thing about the SROs. The people that live in them have to go somewhere and if they close the 16th and Mission/Van Ness places, the group will just move to someplace else where they can live somewhat safely and find another area like the BART plaza to hang out in all day.

tl:dr; It’s a mental health and social issue, not a police issue. That we have nowhere else to put them other than jail makes it law enforcement’s problem, which doesn’t make anything any better.

It’s a mental and social issue only in so far as those people are not actively committing crimes. I think its entirely reasonable and feasible to increase the police presence in a way that targets criminal activity while ignoring people being people and sitting on benches or otherwise using the plaza.

The concentration of them is a problem and in some ways inhumane because there are drugs everywhere

The main focus should be the parasites that come here from Oakland/TL/Hunters point to sell drugs to the poor people that live in the SRO’s. Also the pimps that have flocked her to take advantage of the young girls that they got strung out on drugs and forced into prostitution.

So why exactly is removing the plazas off the table? Is there some reason people want to keep them?

Yes. There is a reason that there are plazas in most of the more liveable cities. Over history plaza’s have performed an important function.

San Francisco is not that much different than other cities, that it would be better if we removed plazas.

We’re not talking about plazas in general here, we’re talking about transit plazas, specifically the ones at 16th and Mission.

There don’t seem to be many examples of functional transit plazas in San Francisco.

So, are you saying that transit at a plaza dooms it to failure?

In San Francisco it certainly appears that way – all the nicest transit stations don’t have plazas, and the better plazas aren’t attached to transit.

It’s no secret that 1960’s urban design was pure shit.

The plaza at 24th is much better and well used by Latino locals on the weekends

16th St is a cesspool of drug addicts

How likely is it that the adjoining bodegas, drycleaners, smokeshops, check cashiers, fast food joints, and tacqueiras suddenly developed an organized campaign with a website, petitions, and graphics?

Doesn’t it seems a lot more likely that the campaign was developed by the nearby developers and realtors and astroturfed onto the local small businesses to mask its genesis?

And what the adjoining bodegas, tacqueiras, et al, should understand is that if/when the corner is “cleaned up,” their rents are going to skyrocket, and they will be out on their asses on the street with the same destitute people whose very presence is keeping rents down right now.

We should all help them out by peeing around the area. It’ll lower their rents even more!

I’ve done my part!

Wow, can we get more paternalistic? I think you should respect these folks enough to consider that they’ve informed themselves and weighed the pros and cons of such a campaign and have decided accordingly. Perhaps that’s why we haven’t seen a campaign like this before; there was finally a breaking point. And it’s absolutely not “more likely” that some cloak-and-dagger developer tricked at least half a dozen different business into joining this campaign. Rather, it’s much more likely that *frequent stabbings, shootings, drug-using/dealing* right outside their businesses convinced them to act. Yeah, maybe rent will increase but my son can walk from school to my work without dodging used needles. That’s a situation some of these people are facing.

Also, the types of businesses around 24th St. BART station are almost identical to those around 16th St.–despite the much better conditions at the 24th St. plaza. So the premise that rents will skyrocket and force these people out if a relatively clean plaza is achieved doesn’t pan out.

24th and Mission is the locus of about as much, if not more, violent crime, too. There are no massive luxury condo-loft projects going up near there, so there’s no fuss. Your observation makes it even more likely the 16th and Valencia campaign is astroturf by the luxury condo-loft developments nearby on San Van Ness and elsewhere.

So there choice is gentrification or live among drug addicted filth?

The police could stop the criminal activity in the 16th Mission plaza, they know it’s going on, but they don’t because there is a lack of will on the part of city government to deal with the underlying issues (poverty, homelessness, gangs). Talk to any cop, they’ll tell you.

Hey Kevin,

Granted it’s small fry in the big scheme of things, but if you have an interest in investigative journalism, it would be very interesting to find out who started and bankrolled CleanupthePlaza.

I could be wrong, and maybe the headshops, check cashiers, and fruterias have had enough and are pooling their considerable talents and resources (as opposed to simply putting a sign that someone gave them in their windows), but this kind of astroturfing has a long history in San Francisco…

I am a native San Franciscan who lives in the mission. I applaud and support the effort to clean up the plaza. I use 16th street Bart station daily. As a young woman, I try to avoid the area at night but, at times I can not. Bart and Muni are my main means of transportation. I have been harassed and followed and generally do not feel safe walking home from the 16th street bart station. While using the ATM machine across the street, next to McDonalds, there is usually someone behind you, waiting to see if they can get a chance to withdraw your money as you walk away. There is open drug deals and drug use. This behavior is not OK! Does anyone know why the escalator from the bart station is always out of order? Its because it is urinated and defecated on… This area is beyond disgusting and really out of control. Screw the fact that it “always has been”, and previous efforts have been lost. San Francisco is a changing city, as much as gentrification sucks and drives prices up for all of us locals, as much as I dislike and don’t understand hipsters, and dislike the mission changing from a working class to an upper class neighborhood, it doesn’t change the fact that we all should feel safe walking in our neighborhoods.

Full points for this.

a few years ago the city spent million “restoring” the area, only to see it fall back back into the despairing conditions. So long as SRO’s are in the area, a public toilet, and so long as it continues to be a wide expansive public area, it will always remain a shit hole.

Removing the ability to hang out all day there would be good. Why is there public seating there? What were they thinking?

You suck

It must have been ghost workers that they sent. We never saw them or their work..

Also not true that having expansive public areas and seating is going to turn an area into a shit-hole. I remember when Bryant park in NYC was a shit-hole but now for a long time it has been transformed into a beautiful safe expansive public area with seating.

We are mixing correlation and causation talking about the street funature being to blame

I would say drug addicted bums living near by is closest to causation. In the TL they sit on the street

I use that BART station every day, and I see cops hanging out there every single morning, chatting it up with the people who congregate there. There is no solving this problem. That entire intersection would have to be obliterated and rebuilt from the ground up. People wait at the top of the escalator (which I can only assume are now strictly ornamental as they haven’t worked in a year), or by the nearby ATM to snatch your stuff, or make lewd, threatening statements; The Walgreens and MacDonalds there have got to be the absolute WORST in the entire fucking city; The swarms of pigeons people insist on feeding are going to give someone the goddamn Hanta virus, and though I’ve seen them do something that looks like wash that plaza occasionally, I think they must be washing it with more stale urine, because it has never once, in the 32 years I’ve lived in SF, smelled like anything else. Thank god they at least got rid of that disgusting taco trailer.

Those gatherings of lost souls around BART are one of the few things keeping the mission from going into a whole nother gear of moneyfication. Be kind to them, they are allies. If the people afraid of them start moving here in droves, that just might be the final tipping point.

At this point, every bit of yuppie inconvenience we manage to preserve in the mission is a job well done.