SFMTA installing security gates at Castro parking lot

Security gates will soon be installed at the parking lot behind the Walgreens on 18th street between Castro and Collingwood streets.

The lot is one of two in the neighborhood owned by SFMTA and has 18 spots; of that total, 16 are for personal vehicles, one is for disabled drivers, and the last is reserved for Maven car sharing.

Parking lot exit on to Collingwood St. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

After many requests from local business owners and residents concerned about car break-ins, robberies, assaults, homeless residents and other quality-of-life issues, SFMTA has agreed to install security gates.

The lot was recently the scene of a suspicious death last Thursday that's still under investigation by police.

Just like the other city-owned lot at 457 Castro St. behind the Castro Theatre, the lot behind Walgreens will be locked from 1:00 a.m.-7:00 a.m. daily.

"We implemented this same protocol at the nearby 457 Castro Street lot about five years ago, and it has worked well to curtail overnight nuisance activities," said SMFTA spokesperson Paul Rose.

Construction for the new barrier is expected to begin on Thursday, but Rose did not have an estimated budget or timeline for the project.

The parking lot is across the street from SF Badlands. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

"This action is being taken now because MTA and Public Works (who provides cleaning and maintenance) agree it's worth the expense because of the amount of city staff time, energy and resources required to clean and maintain the lot in absence of a fence/gate that allows us to lock it up," Rose added.

Once the gates are installed, it will be the responsibility of Castro's Patrol Special officer to lock the gates every night. Each morning, members of the Castro Community Benefit District's Clean Team will unlock the gates, the same protocol observed at the Castro Street parking lot.

Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Castro CBD Executive Director Andrea Aiello said the city reached out about working together on this issue. "All parties are complying with this request as we work to solve the many challenges in this neighborhood," she said.

Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac told Hoodline that the gates have long been requested by members of the Castro community.

"I'm very grateful the Castro CBD and Patrol Special will be managing these gates like the Castro Theater parking lot," he said.