San Francisco BART plaza fenced off to curb drug use, illegal street vending

BART riders at the 24th and Mission Street station in San Francisco say the short walk to catch the train can sometimes be scary. Now the plaza is fenced off to the public.

Recently, they say they have encountered people blocking the sidewalks, engaging in drug use, and other illegal activity.

Theresa Lopez, a neighbor who lives in the area said, "Oh it was completely out of control, I was afraid to go to BART."

David Cheng, a Daly City resident said, "Usually when I come over here there’s all sorts of people hanging around over here, drinking beer, have music going on."

City officials say this public space is now off-limits because of rampant drug use and illegal street vending. A fence has been erected around the plaza with only a path for people going to and from the BART station.

In a series of tweets, District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen explained the situation was causing problems for the whole neighborhood. She wrote, "it infuriates me to see a once beautiful & vibrant community space overrun by open-air drug markets & vendors selling stolen goods."

RELATED: San Francisco's new district attorney tours Tenderloin, pledges action to stop 'open-air drug sales'

"In my personal opinion it is wonderful," said jewelry vendor Milagros Lopez. She has been legally operating on that corner for 8 years and said problems escalated during the pandemic. "They sell drugs, they make drugs, they  bring more extreme bad people doing illegal activities," said Lopez.

With the fencing, she said she already feels safer.  "At night for us we have a lot of protection because now I don’t need to pay attention to who is behind me."

The fencing is only temporary while the city’s Public Works Department will set up a vendor application process and train more street inspectors.