Photo taken from BART Director Bevan Dufty's Twitter page.

The city barricaded the 16th and 24th Street BART plazas on Thursday, apparently as an effort to deter too many people from congregating around the BART entrances as social distancing measures remain in place. 

“I understand the legitimate concern of social distancing,” said BART Director Bevan Dufty, who said the decision originated with the SFPD, and later Department of Public Health and San Francisco Public Works. “With very narrow walkways, if they get blocked it’s going to be very hard for people” to get into the BART station.

“BART’s view is, the city made this decision and advised us and that’s where it stands,” he added. 

The San Francisco Police Department apparently had trouble enforcing social distancing at the locations, and Mission Station Capt. Gaetano Caltagirone requested that San Francisco Public Works place barriers around the plazas, according to an email chain obtained by Mission Local. 

It’s unclear just how severe the problem had become, and just how long the barriers will be necessary. Caltagirone did not respond to calls seeking comment. But, in the emails, he seemed relieved everyone agreed to take action. 

“Thank you everyone for helping out with this isuue [sic],” he wrote to city officials. 

Additionally, one beat officer will be assigned to patrol the plazas on foot, according to the emails. 

The BART plazas have traditionally served as meeting grounds for people of all stripes, including people on their way to work, SRO residents looking for fresh air, and homeless residents. Dufty said 16th and 24th Street stations are among the busiest BART stations in the era of COVID-19.

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. Would really like to have the barricades up permanently. Avoiding folks congregating and smoking up fentanyl on the way to the 16th st BART station is a needed relief for folks with asthma and other health conditions.

  2. Can you imagine what it will be like if and when the food supply gets low? Time to relocate!

    “The San Francisco Police Department apparently had trouble enforcing social distancing at the locations..”

  3. Friend reports the Noe Valley Town Square is still open, not barricaded. Interesting to see who gets public space taken away from them during a crisis and who doesn’t.

    1. Are people congregating in violation of proper social distancing in the “Noe Valley Town Square”?

      It’s interesting to see who makes false comparisons based upon their ideological biases during a crisis and who doesn’t.

  4. Ridiculous. Sounds like Bufty is passing the buck and the Mission Captain doesn’t realize how he’s going to be perceived. Not impressed.

    1. Looks like we’ll get some relief from the screeching Christian preachers who use amplified sound that I can hear from two blocks away, even though the BART plazas on both corners of the intersection are tiny so everybody nearby can easily hear them without it.

      Nobody should be allowed to use amplified sound in those plazas, someone waiting for a 33 bus on a Sunday ten feet from the Christian preachers are subjected to their screeching for half an hour, which should be ILLEGAL as a disturbance of the peace.

    2. What’s ridiculous about it? The way I read it they are trying to make things safe for everyone – by changing the opportunity for those who’s actions are a danger to the rest of us by refusing to social distance.