SF mayor says Mission Street cleanup efforts are working

In San Francisco on Friday, the mayor’s office released preliminary results of a moratorium on unpermitted street vendors selling items along Mission Street. 

According to a press release, the efforts have resulted in cleaner streets and merchants and residents report they’re feeling a heightened sense of safety. 

Since this street vendor moratorium got underway, the city is seeing progress on public safety and street condition improvements on Mission between 14th street and Cesar Chavez.  

It was back on November 27th, 2023, the City started banning unpermitted vendors from selling items on the curb or walkway along Mission Street.  

The goal was to hinder the sale of stolen items, keeping the sidewalks clean and accessible.  Ultimately, hoping to minimize hazards and clean up the commercial neighborhood.

On Friday, Mayor London Breed and San Francisco police announced their efforts have made a difference. Including a 22% decrease in assault incidents, a 46% decrease in robberies, and the Department of Public Works has determined calls for street cleaning to 311 have decreased by 23%. 

Eighteen-year resident of the Mission, Daniel Martinez Gomez said he’s noticed a difference. "I've been able to walk freely now and even go to the corner store late at night. So, I have seen that crime has gone down, but it definitely is still out there. And it might not be in the daytime, but definitely in the nighttime," he said. 

On Friday at around 4 p.m., a department of public works team was questioning a street vendor that had spilled candy and small items onto the sidewalk. A San Francisco police officer was patrolling with the four-person team in yellow vests. 

They issue citations for illegal vending without a permit, but did not cite the candy vendor, who scooped up his small items and stuffed them into a shopping bag before he headed north on Mission. 

When the street vendor moratorium went into effect, the City did set up a vendor market for permitted vendors, located between 17th and 18th streets, but the merchants we spoke to at the end of the day, shared, they don’t get as much traffic compared to being on the street, even though it’s safer. 

Jorge Huchal is a vendor who is participating in selling items at La Tiengua, a City-hosted storefront that houses a dozen or so vendors under one roof. He said,"It’s tough because being inside you have more security. But selling is not as good. When you’re outside, people can see the items as they’re passing by, and they make a quick stop to buy."

Others say, being inside, they miss the impulse buyers. And it’s harder to make a living. Jorge Mendoza used to make a hundred to $200 a day when he sold on the street. He said, "Today, only $15,"

As for those who still sell on the street, Pedro Sanchez has been selling on Mission for 20 years. But he says, now he feels targeted by public works employees who’ve confiscated his items twice. 

"They come and take my stuff. I’ve been here three years. I have been on the street 20 years, and now the guys won’t leave us alone."

There are un-permitted vendors who pick up and move on when they see public works folks coming. Sanchez said, "The police say, $1,000 or I’ll put you in jail, and he takes my stuff!"

With the sidewalks being clear and shoppers not crowding around, 40% of 192 businesses surveyed report an increase in foot traffic. 

The city continues to work with merchants, vendors and residents along with city agencies to continue to address the needs of the Mission district. Helping vendors get permitted and offering economic and workforce development to help the vendors and the merchants. 

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU FOX 2 NEWS. She can  be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com