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Hillary Ronen Defends Closing BART Station Plazas in the Mission: ‘My Back Is Against the Wall’
Sunday, August 07, 2022

Hillary Ronen Defends Closing BART Station Plazas in the Mission: ‘My Back Is Against the Wall’

The BART station plazas at 24th and Mission streets—two of the busiest corners in San Francisco—were fenced off this week by Supervisor Hillary Ronen in an extraordinary step to combat illegal street vending. BART owns the property surrounding the plazas aside from the sidewalks, but at Ronen’s request the agency agreed to install fencing to close off the spaces for the next two months, aside from letting people enter and exit the underground station.

Ronen said her office has received numerous complaints about illegal vendors taking business away from brick-and-mortar locations, vendors being extorted, overcrowding by the nearby Muni bus stops, drug dealing and even threats of violence against her own staff. She and other supervisors passed a law this spring for a street vendor enforcement program through the Department of Public Works, but the city has yet to implement it. Ronen’s office now plans to work with the Mission District nonprofit Calle 24 to revitalize the space as requirements on vendor permits continue to be fleshed out. 

In a lively conversation Thursday with The Standard, the Mission District supervisor defended her decision to shut down the public spaces, arguing that delays in implementing the permitting process required the closure but all will be well when it goes into effect in August.

Ronen discusses her decision to shut down the 24th Street BART Station in a July 21, 2022 interview with The Standard.

Ronen on the response to the shutdown

Ronen says the community response has been overwhelmingly positive, citing the many citizen complaints she received before the shutdown.

Ronen on whether this will work

Ronen insists that her intent is not to criminalize the poor, but instead to provide a temporary solution as law enforcement targets criminal elements in the area.

Ronen on Tenderloin crime moving to the Mission

Ronen said she was scared that the situation at the 24th Street BART station was coming close to what has been going on for years in the Tenderloin.

See Also

Editor’s note: This story was updated to note the street vendor legislation passed in the spring is scheduled to go into effect next month. 

Josh Koehn can be reached at [email protected].
Jesse Rogala can be reached at [email protected].
  • Hillary is a fake progressive. She needs to let the drug sellers sell and drug addicts buy. They have rights!

  • Update: the Bart station is surrounded by a hideous fence leaving a narrow path to the station entrance. The same number of vendors have now set up outside the fenced areas creating even more congestion. If this doesn’t highlight Hilary Ronen’s inability to effective lead, I’m at a loss. Does she have zero vision, an extremely low IQ or perhaps is it she just doesn’t care? The progressives are a disgrace and continue to drive SF to new lows. Yeah

  • Update: the fencing has created an even bigger disaster. All the same illegal venders are crammed into an even smaller space. Ronen is a disgrace.

  • A city must function. I expect our supervisors to prioritize the safe operation of our public spaces, otherwise, what is this all for? But much like the country’s immigration policies, we do not have a plan that allows open-air vendors to sell their food, arts, and crafts while keeping those who are selling stolen goods away. It’s all just chaos.

  • I am thankful Ronen cares to resolve this issue, but neither the vending law nor the fencing has materially reduced the unsafe conditions that exist at 24th and Mission. It’s mind boggling that a city official could recognize the conditions as a major problem, yet months later not have succeeded in resolving it.

    Also, Koehn (the reporter) is disingenuous or crazy. I grew up in New York in the 70s and 80s, so have a really thick skin for street conditions, yet this intersection most definitely feels unsafe and totally unpleasant. No one wants to go there to do anything other than to buy stolen goods.

  • “Ronen’s office now plans to work with the Mission District nonprofit Calle 24 to revitalize the space as requirements on vendor permits continue to be fleshed out.”
    – Why are nonprofits at the center of everything the City does? What does the City do other than pay nonprofits with very little to show for it? Also, Calle 24 still employs Jon Jacobo.

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