SF businesses say Mission St. is 'safer,' but vendors are struggling during 90-day vending ban

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024
A closer look at how SF Mission St. vendors are doing during ban
It's been 62 days since San Francisco implemented a 90-day street vending ban on Mission Street. We check in with businesses and vendors.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's been 62 days since San Francisco implemented a 90-day street vending ban on Mission Street and business owners in the area are reporting the first signs of improvement.

"The streets look cleaner and more safe for the kids that go to school for my place," said Carmen Elias, La Mejor Bakery owner.

That feeling is backed up by a survey from the city's Office of Economic Workforce Development that found:

  • 56% of businesses feel the Mission Street Corridor is safer
  • 67% of businesses have seen a positive change on Mission Street
  • 73% of businesses have noticed a significant improvement in walking in or around the BART plazas
  • 40% of businesses reported an increase in foot traffic
  • "More people coming in and hopefully it will get better," said Roberto Chicas, worker at Frisco Flavor Restaurant.

    We noticed 24th street Bart Plaza was clean. Patrolling the area were Public Works inspectors and San Francisco Police officers.

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    The 90-day street vending ban is still in effect in San Francisco and now multiple street vendors are reporting housing insecurity.

    Despite the change, some workers in the area say after inspectors leave illegal activity comes back.

    "I saw in the night mostly. They are doing vending the same place mostly on the Bart area," said Radha Rai Shrestha, Hollywood Beauty Threading.

    Supervisor Hillary Ronen represents the Mission District. She is aware of the illegal activity when inspectors are not around but said the scope of the issue has changed.

    "Right before the enforcer start work and after they stop work you see stragglers you see people who are vending stolen goods. Less people than before and the size of the area they are taking up on the street is much less," said Supervisor Ronen.

    RELATED: San Francisco Mission vendors making '$10 a day' due to 90-day street vending ban

    Some San Francisco Mission Street vendors say they're making $10 a day due to city's 90-day street vending ban.

    Despite illegal activity at night or in early mornings, Supervisor Ronen said public safety has improved on Mission Street.

    "We had extortion of legitimate vendors who were doing nothing wrong. It was disaster. We worked for about a year to try to fix this situation by creating a whole permitting system that we tried to enforce and it was so overwhelming and chaotic that it didn't work," said Supervisor Ronen.

    More than 100 permitted street vendors can't wait for the ban to end. One of them is Reina Portillo. We found her outside a restaurant with her stand. Turns out she is paying the restaurant to be here.

    "I used to sale more when I was on the sidewalk. I'm hoping to go back to that," said Portillo.

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

    Unpermitted street vending is still happening in San Francisco's Mission District despite the city's 90-day ban.

    The city also leased two properties to give permitted vendors a space to sell during the ban. We went to both of them. One of them is "La Placita" they are closed on Mondays.

    The second one is "El Tiangue" a storefront with enough space for 40 vendors.

    Manuel Soltero was one of two vendors there. He said he makes around $30 - $40 a day and is two months behind in rent.

    "They tell me when do you pay? I don't know. Well next month if you don't pay you are going out. Oh well, I don't know. That is why I'm here waiting for the 90 days. After 90 days I don't know what the city will do," said Soltero.

    RELATED: SF's Mission St. vendors urge officials to postpone 90-day selling ban until after holidays

    Supervisor Ronen said the city Department of Economic and Workforce Development is helping permitted street vendors with resources and offering opportunities to find new careers paths.

    "To train workers, to try to find new professions and stipend them in the meantime while they are getting that training so that they have some income coming in," said Supervisor Ronen.

    We asked Supervisor Ronen if the ban will continue past February 27.

    "I'm just speaking for me this is not my decision alone. It's likely we are probably going to continue, but that is a decision that has to be made by the Mayor's office and the city's department with input from our office. That is what we are talking about and looking at the evidence," said Supervisor Ronen.

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