SAN FRANCISCO - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is over, and locals in San Francisco noticed a difference in street conditions during the conference. It's a change that many say they've noticed the cleaner conditions on many of the city's streets. Now the question is how to maintain that momentum.
Maria, who did not give her last name, lives in the South of Market area and says she has seen the worst her neighborhood can offer, saying she was stabbed trying to help someone who was being attacked. "Yeah, I got stabbed here in my stomach," said Maria who did not want to say her last name. "I had to spend 14 days in the hospital in San Francisco Hospital. I almost died defending an Asian lady when they were getting attacked."
Maria says even now after efforts to clean the area for the APEC she still walks the neighborhood with a baseball bat. "And I had to hire a security guard out of my pension social security to pay him to go with me to go to Walgreens to pick up my medication," said Maria.
But, Maria says she has noticed street conditions have improved along 7th Street between Mission and Market.
KTVU shot video of the area from September 2022, showing multiple people using drugs on a traffic island. Now, that same island is clear. Locals wonder for how long. "Hopefully it stays better," said Maria. "We want a better San Francisco."
APEC ended right as the holiday season is ramping up. The Union Square Alliance says it's important for the city to build on the progress it's already made cleaning the streets. "This is a great opportunity for us to keep the momentum going," said Marisa Rodriguez from the Union Square Alliance. "To continue to leverage this opportunity, this reset moment to have a welcoming environment for all."
KTVU talked with Mayor London Breed last week about this very topic, and she said the progress was made in the buildup to APEC that brought an influx of local, state and federal funds. She also credits the recent court decision she says allows the city to offer housing to people, and to move people along if they decline the offer and are blocking sidewalks.
San Francisco's Office of Economic & Workforce Development, in an internal email to small businesses, acknowledged that anticipated benefits from APEC to those very small businesses, "didn't materialize" as they had hoped.
"Some of the same strategies our federal, state and City partnership used successfully to keep people safe, and to keep transportation generally moving in the Bay Area, had the unintended consequence of lowered visitation to our local businesses, nightlife and cultural organizations, particularly in and around the Yerba Buena and Moscone Center area," the office's Executive Director Sarah Dennis Phillips wrote.
The office expressed intentions of working with those affected businesses to explore how to increase foot-traffic through the holidays.
KTVU's Crystal Bailey contributed to this report.