Unpermitted street vending still happening in SF's Mission District despite 90-day ban

"Street vendors are not selling right here right now, but all the illegal vendors are out on the street"

Luz Pena Image
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Unpermitted street vending still happening in SF despite ban
Unpermitted street vending is still happening in San Francisco's Mission District despite the city's 90-day ban.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Mission Street 90-day vending ban went into effect on Monday, meaning street vendors with or without permits are not allowed to sell on the sidewalks.

Yet permitted vendors are already reporting that the fencing operations the city is trying to get rid of with the ban is continuing.

It's been 24 hours since the 90-day street ban on San Francisco's Mission Street went into effect. According to Rodrigo Lopez - one of the vendors in the area - what you see on Mission Street will depend on the time of day.

"There was a lot of activity, people selling and buying and inspectors on the side doing nothing," said Lopez.

Last week, when street vending was permitted, Rodrigo Lopez was selling on 24th Street. Now, he is documenting what's happening in the area.

"We feel really disappointed," said Lopez and added, "Street vendors are not selling right here right now, but all the illegal vendors are out on the street. We are demanding more action from the city."

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At 8:40 a.m., Rodrigo captured video of people pulling merchandise out of suitcases and selling on the sidewalks.

When we showed up several hours later, 24th Street was clean. There were no vendors in sight and public works inspectors began to show up with SFPD.

It turns out when Rodrigo shot the videos, it was before inspectors began their patrol.

"On weekdays, we are out there from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. We are looking to see if we can extend that a little bit. That is dependent on resources and on weekends we are there from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.," said Rachel Gordon, director of policy and communications for the San Francisco Dept. of Public Works.

Luz Pena: "Outside of those hours, people can go out there and continue vending?"

Rachel Gordon: "So what the city is going to do is really monitor this and see if it's working during those hours."

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An investigation is now underway into a San Francisco Public Works employee caught on video knocking over a hot dog vendor's cart.

San Francisco Public Works said inspectors have been attacked by unpermitted vendors. For months, they've been patrolling with SFPD officers.

"If they see someone who is selling any goods in the street on the Mission Street corridor, they are going out and telling them that they are not allowed to do that anymore. They have to pack up and leave. If they don't leave and there is not compliance with that, they can issue something called a notice of violation. Those notices of violation carry fines of $100 to a $1000 depending on how many times people have been warned," said Gordon.

Amin Ali owns Mi Pueblito Market on 24th Street. He is thankful for the change even if it's not consistent.

Luz Pena: "Have you noticed a difference?"

Amin Ali: "Yes the difference is that it's better. People can walk. Clean."

Several BART plazas are part of the ban. In the past, they have been fencing operation hotspots.

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On the phone, Lieutenant White with BART police confirmed they are now adding extra resources to the area.

Vendors like Rodrigo say it's not fair that unpermitted vendors get to set up shop when vendors are not around.

"It's like they show up for a few minutes and then they walk away. The people start selling the stuff and police show up, come out and people take everything, pack everything. They wait for police to walk away and they start selling again," said Lopez.

Luz Pena: "What is your message to the city?

Rodrigo Lopez: "The message to the city is to do their job."

Rodrigo Lopez is setting up his shop inside one of the locations designated by the city for permitted street vendors. The storefront is located on 2137 Mission Street.

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