Feb 8, 2024 - News

San Francisco's illegal vending ban gets extended

Photo of a person walking down a street next to a boarded-up vacant building

A pedestrian walks by Mission Street in San Francisco in 2019. Photo: Amy Osborne/Bloomberg via Getty Images

San Francisco is extending its vending moratorium on Mission Street for six additional months after officials say assault and robbery incidents decreased in its first 10 weeks of implementation.

Why it matters: Officials say the illegal vending, which included unpermitted activities involving fencing and the sale of stolen items, created a hazardous environment.

What they're saying: Neighboring residents and small businesses have "noted that Mission Street is markedly safer, cleaner and more accessible," Supervisor Hillary Ronen, whose district covers the area impacted by the moratorium, said in a news release.

  • "With a moratorium extension, we can continue to build on the progress we've made while supporting our legitimate street vendors with wraparound services, marketing and workforce training."
  • The city will also use the extension to assess ways to maintain street conditions on sidewalks and around BART plazas.

Details: Since the initial 90-day moratorium took effect, the city has recorded a 22% decrease in assault incidents, 46% decrease in robbery incidents and a 23% decrease in service requests for street cleaning, according to data from the San Francisco police and public works departments.

  • The Office of Economic and Workforce Development also found that a majority of surveyed merchants along Mission Street felt the moratorium should continue.
  • Almost 70% said they've seen a positive change on Mission Street due to the moratorium, per the survey.

Catch up quick: While local officials have lauded the moratorium as a success, it initially faced criticism for indiscriminately targeting vendors who were permitted and those fencing stolen goods.

  • The San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club also warned in October that a moratorium fails to address the root cause of illegal vending — economic insecurity — and "further perpetuates the gentrification process our gente have been attempting to overcome."
  • Though the city opened two temporary spaces with community partners Clecha and Calle 24 Latino Cultural District to provide a market for permitted vendors, police officers and inspectors were met with protests on the first day of the ban.
  • Dozens of vendors accused the city of taking away a critical source of income.

What to watch: The city said this week that it is dedicating resources to support previously permitted vendors to ensure they have access to services like workforce training and placement, marketing support and emergency relief funds.

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