'Deep clean' initiative to run dry by April / Breed pushes for permanent parklets

It's Monday, March 15th.

Good evening, San Francisco.

A tweet from Mayor Breed about an “intensive deep clean” program for our city’s streets caught my attention this weekend. Was this a new thing or what? It can be hard to keep track of the things San Francisco is doing to try to clean our city. 

On Monday, I got some answers from San Francisco Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon, who said CleanCorridorsSF started right before the pandemic last year and was subsequently put on hold until this January. 

The goal, Gordon said, is to “go above and beyond what we normally do” for standard street sweeps. That means power washing sidewalks, removing graffiti tags and stickers, and even doing detail work, like pulling weeds. Public Works’ website calls it a “coordinated deep-cleaning blitz.” 

Right now, the “blitz” is happening once a week in a targeted area of the city that Supervisors and Public Works crews agree could use some extra love. Last week’s cleanup, for instance, took place on Fillmore Street between Post and Eddy. Gordon said it takes around four hours and 20 of its employees to complete. And the price per cleanup is around $7,000 (mostly for labor), which Gordon said was “not an incredible cost” especially given the benefits.

“It’s gotten really good feedback from residents and merchants in the areas,” she said. 

But, CleanCorridorsSF, which has been a pilot program of sorts over the past year, will run out of funding by mid-April. Gordon said Public Works is “working to secure additional funding to keep it going,” but given all the competing initiatives for the city, she said, “we’ll just need to see what happens.” 

With that… onto some news… 

On Monday, San Francisco expanded its vaccine eligibility to include people with underlying health conditions like cancer, diabetes, and HIV, as well as those who are pregnant. The city also expanded on California’s definition of a “disability” so that those with mental health and substance use disorders are now eligible as well. Mayor Breed called the eligibility widening an important step to “save lives and protect our most vulnerable residents.” 

Here is a complete list of conditions that make a person eligible for the vaccine as of Monday. 

Mayor Breed, along with several Supervisors, announced new legislation late last week that would make the Shared Spaces program (which includes the 2,000+ parklets that restaurants and bars have built during the pandemic) more permanent. “They are working, and it’s on all of us to make sure our Shared Spaces are a part of San Francisco’s future,” Breed wrote in a Medium post on Friday. The current program is set to expire in June. 

Businesses will need to prove that their parklets comply with safety and the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements under the proposal. They will also be subject to a permit fee by 2022. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors is set to discuss the legislation. 

Hundreds of parents and students marched from Alamo Square Park to City Hall on Saturday to advocate for a full reopening of San Francisco’s public schools. (A partial reopening is scheduled for April 12th for Pre-K through 2nd grades, though students will not return for a full five days. Also, the return plans for middle school and high school students remain unclear.)

Not all was peaceful. While walking down Hayes Street, one of the attendees was struck by an egg. “There should be consensus around this, but with the different parties involved, it’s become a really polarized issue,” the person hit by the egg told the Examiner

State Senator Scott Wiener and Mayor London Breed (wearing her purple Galileo High School jacket) attended the rally in support of the group, known as “Decreasing the Distance.” 

“Our kids and the future of our city is at a crossroads,” Breed said on Saturday. “Today, you all have come together like never before, for the health and well-being of not just your children, but for all kids.”

Quick bits: 

  • 🚨 A dashcam video went viral last week after a San Francisco Uber driver asked his passengers to wear their masks and chaos (including one of the passengers deliberately coughing on the driver) ensued. Now two of the passengers have been arrested for the incident and a GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $100,000 for the driver. (New York Times

  • 🍔 The pit-master of Oakland’s Horn BBQ (Matt Horn) reportedly has plans to open a burger joint named Matty’s Old-Fashioned. It’s unclear when or where the new spot will open, but apparently, Horn will be previewing his burgers this Saturday for a limited crowd. (Chronicle

  • 🎽 Ultrarunner Luke Wicker is moving back to the UK to be closer to family, but before leaving San Francisco, he decided to run up every “accessible peak” in the city (all 76 of them!), which took around 13 hours. “65 miles and 10,000ft of elevation gain made for a unique adventure across our city,” Wicker said on Twitter. (Chronicle

  • 🎉 The Church of 8 Wheels has reopened! So too has Alcatraz. (Datebook / SFist

And finally… Inspired by Edgar McGregor, the 20-year-old climate activist we highlighted last week, I picked up a bucket and some gloves today from my local Ace Hardware on Market Street. 

The 5-gallon plastic bucket cost $5.99 and the gloves were $8.59. So all in, it cost a little over $14. On my walk home, I put my set-up to the test and I gotta say, it was really nice! I’ve used trash pickers in the past, but actually snagging the trash by hand, with gloves, was so much easier. 

I don’t mean to guilt-trip y’all. I’ve only done this for one day! And right now, I don’t have a master plan for tackling our city’s trash issue. (I’ll probably just wander around my block for 10-15 minutes a day and see what happens.)

But I did want to share how easy it is to get started.

Just a bucket and some gloves! 

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading! 

Oh, and how about a little giveaway. If you tell three friends about The SF Minute, let me know (nick@thesfminute.com). On Friday, I’ll pick three random people to win… you guessed it… a bucket and some gloves!! 

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See you tomorrow! - Nick B. 

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