Temporary barricades
Temporary barricades. Taken Feb. 13, 2023. Photo by Christina MacIntosh.

The “Road Closed” signs on Capp Street between 19th and 22nd streets were in good standing on Friday morning, a week after they were rolled out. And, by Saturday morning, they are slated to be replaced with concrete barricades. 

The concrete barricades promised earlier this week will be installed Saturday morning at 20th, 21st, and 22nd streets, said Santiago Lerma, a legislative aide for Supervisor Hillary Ronen. Though the new barricades are concrete, they will not be permanent. Lerma said they will be up for about a month, to try and disrupt the sex trade along Capp.

Although motorists kept moving the temporary barriers aside, Capp Street residents did their best to move them back into place. And, it appears area denizens are pleased with the changes brought by the barricades.

Capp Street residents have told both Mission Local and Ronen’s office that the barricades have led to more idyllic streets, and allowed them to sleep through the night without being awakened by cars or loud arguments. 

Sgt. Adam Lobsinger, a public information officer with the San Francisco Police Department, says that the police have issued 30 traffic citations along the corridor since last Friday. Lobsinger added that, on Wednesday night, SFPD officers in plainclothes cited seven “johns” along the corridor for soliciting sex.

Lobsinger says that residents should expect to see continued police presence in the area.

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Christina A. MacintoshReporting Intern

Christina grew up in Brooklyn and moved to the Bay in 2018. She studied Creative Writing and Earth Systems at Stanford.

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  1. What did we hear just a few years ago, WALLS DONE WORK!!!!! The Capp street residence should be ashamed of themselves.

    1. I don’t know what you’re referring to (the BART plaza fence?), but these barricades definitely work. We have families, children, and seniors living on these blocks. Bumper to bumper traffic, practically naked women – 15 per block – in the middle of the street and on every corner, and then there’s the intimidation and violence. It should be moved away from all residential streets.

      These blocks are now residential streets again, the barricades clearly work.

      1. You haven’t been here long enough to remember that they all moved to South Van Ness when the fuzz started to patrol Capp. Once the police figured it out they started to patrol South Van Ness, which prompted the prostitutes to move to Capp again.

        1. Drew – can you please tell us what year was that?

          I remember parking my car on Capp, btw 20th 22nd St, in the 1990s, without prostitutes on these blocks.

    2. My building is off Capp St, and I have benefitted tremendously from the Capp street’s residents work on the issue.

      The convenience of using Capp, by car, to get to other parts of town has been impacted a bit, but I am OK with that.

      I support the Capp Street residents efforts 100%.

  2. In an ideal world, the names and head shots of the johns would be posted on the neighborhood billboards. They’re the problem, not the sex workers.

  3. They need to lower the “dead end” sign at 18th St. It’s too high to see, period, but also impossible to see at night over the brightness of the traffic light below it.

  4. A friend of mine has lived on 20th and Capp since 1986. In December she said she’s been attending neighborhood meetings started by women who bought $2M houses on Capp ST and wouldn’t tolerate the hookers/Johns. We laughed, prior to the change in hood value everyone (cops, city hall) knew about the business, residents complained but no one cared. Gentrification. Oh, the conundrum.

    1. Douchess – I am so glad the $2Mill home women moved in & decided to have meetings about the prostitution on Capp.

      I am finally able to walk home at night, from Mission St, & not be harassed by Johns or pimps.

      I am finally able to sleep through the night, w/o being awaken by either blaring music or abused women screaming for help.

      Oh, and the fact that I no longer have to clean up the fast food wraps & leftovers, left on my driveway by pimps is a blessing.

      Thank you $2Mill house women for stepping up and saying “enough is enough”.

  5. Went out to dinner the other night to Chome for a celebration of sorts. Wow what great people doing amazing things in the daidokoro. Anyways, on the way home we decided to walk down Capp. Incredible how even the current makeshift barricades transformed the street from an Oakland Airport Drive look alike to a wonderful neighborhood street. Some of the nice ladies had moved to Shotwell but not many and there weren’t any Johns in sight. Appeared to be a cold, cashless night for these poor souls.

    Not the same neighborhood it was 20-30 years ago. I find the best characteristics of the neighborhood have remained but thankfully the underbelly continues to get worked off. Cheers.

  6. Two pedestrians dead at 16th street, no physical changes. Sex work on Capp, barricades. Good to know Ronen and the city’s priorities.

    1. Yep.
      It’s quite incredible how the city responds to all things traffic.
      Ten years ago, I raised concerns about dangerous driving near my home. I asked for speedbumps and/or raised crosswalks on a cross street that dead ends half a block down. I made no specific request about the the through street that has much higher traffic volume, including a trolley bus and frequent emergency vehicles.
      The email to my then-supervisor was forwarded to SFMTA. SFMTA said there was no way they could install any sort of traffic calming and/or pedestrian safety improvements on the cross street because SFFD would be unable to negotiate the hazard that would be created by installing raised crosswalks that would run parallel to SFFD’s direction of travel in 99+% of theirs runs.
      That quality analysis was obscenely stupid.

    2. For two years I’ve been trying to get meaningful enforcement of the red and white curb zones adjacent to an elementary school. Cars, trucks and city vehicles parked in the red at the beginning of the block regularly prevent school buses from turning into the alley for drop off and pick up. That creates safety hazards (and liability issues) for the bus company because kids have to get on and off half a block from the official stop. It also creates traffic and safety problems for other vehicles including bikes the because the bus blocks the bike lane.
      The utter failure of SFMTA to deal with cars parked in the school’s white zone has gone from bad to idiotic. Yesterday someone from SFMTA enforcement called in response to my 311 request. She told me the officer who responded reported that there is no white zone on that block. Somehow the picture of the car I submitted which CLEARLY showed the car and the white curb with SFMTA’s logo on it couldn’t convince her that I was right. The white zone has been there for 25 years or so and it was extended further along the block in April 2021.
      The city’s differential treatment of “issues” based on the tax bracket of the person making the request is appalling. And yet SFTMA from Tumlin on down will endlessly spout off about their absolute commitment to equity and their priority to protect vulnerable populations (usually identified as seniors and children).
      And Ronen knows this. She was on the Board of Supervisor’s Youth, Young Adult, and Families Committee which, at its first meeting (January 2022), had two agenda items on school zone safety: Item 1 — Urging SFMTA to Prioritize and Expedite Vision Zero Improvements Around Playgrounds, School Zones, and Senior Zones; and Item 3 — Hearing — Pedestrian Safety and Ensuring Safe Routes to Schools.
      There was no agenda item on Red Light District noise and traffic concerns.

  7. Congratulations, all you’ve done is move all the traffic, loud cars and honking horns to S Van Ness. The noise at night for the past week has been horrible. Motorcycles revving their engines down the street, cars honking at each other, people yelling on the street. Barriers won’t stop any of this from happening it’s just going to push it to areas where there’s less obstacles. Terrible idea, SFPD and Ronen.

    1. Rather than completion, join us in getting organized. We’d like the sex work completely out of the Mission and any residential neighborhood. But we need ALL our neighbors to be willing to get involved and active like your neighbors over on Capp!

      And those motorcycles (which were pretty loud and cruising up and down Capp too) were actually a part of the SFPD motorcycle brigade citing people in the area.

    2. I am on one of the numbered streets crossing Capp. Since the barricades went up, the loud car music has been reduced & so is the volume of traffic. I never had issues with motorcycle noise.

      Have the soliciting work moved to South Vanness?

      Capp St is not a high car volume road, except during prostitution hours. So, it would unusual for reduced, regular traffic on Capp, to increase the regular traffic on South Vanness.

  8. What does it mean that they will become permanent? How will residents on those blocks have access, or are the barricades only on one end of each block?

    1. The street is open on one side and essentially dead ends at the other end. The main goal of that was to stop the non stop flow of traffic of the johns cruising up and down Capp between 23rd-17th. Amazingly, it has worked at achieving that goal.

    2. Barricades are only on one end of the block & there is room for bikes to pass, within the barricades.