Barricades at 19th and Capp St. on Monday afternoon.
19th and Capp Streets on Monday afternoon. Taken Feb. 13, 2023. Photo by Christina MacIntosh.

Barricade is a big word for the “Road Closed” signs placed on Capp Street between 19th and 22nd streets in an attempt to curb sex work on the block. Breaching them does not require a Mack Truck; since their installation on Friday, the San Francisco Police Department has received three reports of vandalized or damaged barriers, and issued 12 traffic citations in the area. Both Capp Street residents and SFMTA employees have been putting them back in position to maintain the road block.

“Hours later, drivers pushed them aside, or in some cases, completely drove over them,” a Capp Street resident, who asked to remain nameless, wrote to Mission Local.

A gap in the 20th St. barricades. Taken Feb. 10, 2023. Photo shared with Mission Local.

The neighbor worried about the newly introduced safety threat posed by the dismantled barriers, describing a “piece of steel angled upward waiting to impale a passing motorcyclist or bicyclist”

A damaged barricade. Taken Feb. 12, 2023. Photo shared with Mission Local.

Fire truck and ambulance drivers also moved the barricades, according to an employee at Diosa Blooms, a flower shop on the corner of 22nd and Capp streets, who worked over the weekend. She said that residents were moving the barricades back into the street throughout the weekend, which was confirmed by another neighbor.

A resident of 398 Capp St., at the corner of 19th Street, said that the barricades were pushed off to the side this morning. He saw the SFMTA’s Sign Shop team putting them back at 8:30 a.m., and that they had been moved again by 9:30 a.m.

Santiago Lerma, a legislative aide for Supervisor Hillary Ronen, said that the barriers are temporary, because the SFMTA currently does not have enough concrete or water barriers to block off the entire passage.

Lerma said that Ronen’s office has asked that the department put up whatever they have in stock in the meantime, to “show good faith to the neighbors.” These barricades should be up in the next one or two days, and the whole passage should have more permanent barriers in a week.

He said that the Municipal Transportation Agency is replacing the temporary barricades as needed. The passage is also patrolled by police officers on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as a lieutenant collecting evidence to build cases.

When Mission Local visited on Monday afternoon, all the barricades were intact, besides those on 19th Street.

Barricades at 19th and Capp St. on Monday afternoon. Taken Feb. 13, 2023. Photo by Christina MacIntosh.

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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. So what’s going on with the street cleaning? 23rd-24th Capp has been dirty af, there’s more traffic on mission and south van ness. This is totally not helping the community all because 5 blocks are used by sex workers and john’s after this has been here for DECADES (I’ve lived on Capp since 1991) and now all these new yuppies who moved into the hood have gentrified it. It use to take me 2-3mins to drop my youngest off at daycare on 19th & mission now it takes me 10.

    1. I’ve been in SF since 1987. In my current location since 2011. Since the barriers went up, we can finally sleep through the night.

      I am sorry it takes you 7 extra minutes to get your kid to daycare; but the kids on Capp St can finally get a full, uninterrupted night of sleep.

  2. I feel sorry for the stores in the area as they are now losing business weather its the corner store on 19th or the ice cream shop on 22nd. And now the cops got a decoy entrapping some innocent people passing through the hood. She sure is a beautiful decoy. These hoes need to unionize. Some of them are good people. “The Blade” as it’s called is resilient. “Support your local prostitutes”

    1. I dont. If the women made their pimps & customers behave: no guns, no screaming, no harassing etc. Perhaps the neighbors would not have rise to get them out of the area.

      The people in the business should unionize & fight to legalize their work. The Johns & pimps should help them do that, since both are benefitting from the trade.

  3. I support the barriers but come on, people. Capp St has been a red light / cruising street for many decades. You moved onto that street (for cheaper real estate?) so you can’t be so surprised at what you’ve got there.

    1. Actually, as a Capp St resident who had lived over on Folsom for many many years, I had no idea that this was going on. And real estate is not really any cheaper here!!

      Beyond that, just because a social problem has existed in an area for some time is no excuse for why it should be allowed to continue. The people who live on Capp (newer residents and the long time residents, many of whom have been here 30, 40, even 50+ years) are fed up with this!

  4. Maybe if more residents hired the sex workers they wouldn’t have to be out on the street as often. Everybody wins.

  5. As someone that use Capp street to travel, I don’t see the barrier as a positive thing. I doubt that prostitution would just cease to exit. It’ll just transfer the issue to somewhere else. I think we need to acknowledge that it’s something that’s been going on forever. And find a way for it to exist in the healthiest way possible, by sanctioning it, so it’s not randomly happening anywhere, but at a legal brothel with safety measures in place.

    1. It isn’t about stopping prostitution (because obviously this isn’t going to do that). It’s about disrupting the flow of traffic and noise from the non stop cars and johns who cruise Capp all night (making it impossible for neighbors to sleep). In this goal, it has actually been quite successful. Trust me: as someone who lives on Capp, this is the first time in a long time residents have been able to sleep through the night.

  6. Put up some barricades, and prostitution will magically vanish? No. If anything, this will just move the problem over a couple of blocks.

  7. How about creating a sanctioned red light district downtown, like the Combat Zone in Boston? Could bring some life to the area and move the chaos out of the residential neighborhoods.

    1. We had a red light district in the Tenderloin on Hyde street in early 2000s, , time for it to go back there again. People in the mission pay too much for hookers and johns to be roaming rhe street. We need out techies and families to be safe . Back to the TLs with these hoes or push them back to shotwell like they were 5 years ago

  8. I am in support of the people that live on these blocks that are looking for a little relief from the sex traffic. If they are satisfied with the results of the barricades, then we should back the temporary blockades. Instead of talking about how unfair it is for us to be diverted off their streets, let’s be happy their kids can now see the light of day again.

    1. It’s exceptionally frustrating that the city would choose to inconvenience a large number of residents and workers in order to appease a small number of puritanical residents. Not to mention that this does nothing to address the health and safety of the sex workers and people participating in sex work. Make it safe and legal. Prohibition does not work.

      1. We are being woken up at night from the violence against these women. We are calling 911 when pimps are backing women up against vehicles or chasing after them with weapons. In the morning, we are cleaning up their “care packages”, empty Dorito bags and used condoms off our residential street. We do not want to live in a red light district. The girls and the johns are all driving here — they can simply drive somewhere where this is not affecting people just trying to sleep at night.

  9. I wish they did this before when I had to walk at night those blocks and cars confused me with hookers. It really sucked

  10. I’m a bit confused about how this is supposed to work long-term. The idea is to block Capp street at a few intersections to make it hard to cruise it at night?? But ultimately, also for residents and emergency vehicles during the day?? I know I’m not the only one who knows that all of the sex work and cruising will just move down or over a block or two and persist until there is any real work being done to mitigate the illegal business.

  11. “ SFMTA currently does not have enough concrete or water barriers to barricade the entire passage.”

    The Incredible dysfunction continues.

  12. Sad how city officials rather temporarily fix this issue with blocking the barriers? All this is doing is redirecting workers to another remote location. Allowing their activities disturb the city. They should try and reach out to these workers. Provide some sort of help via community programs. Or maybe cops should start arresting pimps rather then go harras other innocent people.

  13. Why isn’t anyone calling for the jobs of the Police Chief & The Mayor. I have lived in the tenderloin section for 5 months and I have yet to see 1 assrest. Not even a paddy wagon. I’m a Marine Corps Veteran fron NY so I’m not bs

  14. Hi Christina – yesterday, afternoon a neighbor & I, wrote about our positive experience with the barriers placed on Capp St. Our comments have not been published yet.

    Did ML get our comments?

    As residents of either Capp or streets crossing Capp, that are directly impacted by the street barricades, we request ML publish our comments.

  15. SFMTA and SFFD did their damnedest to interfere with a recurring street closure for kids’ health and safety on a do nothing alley adjacent to an elementary school. Even when we were able to get a flimsy A-frame sign and a couple of moveable barricades, we continue to deal with jackasses who are too self important to respect 3 to 11 year children playing in the street. About a year ago, a retired state senator (license plate S8R1) “needed” to park on the sidewalk (but poorly enough that he also blocked the roadway for two incoming school buses) while he made a stop (I assume) at the State Building a block away. When he had finished whatever required him to park on the sidewalk, he returned, got in his car and drove west on the alley going around the “road closed to through traffic” sign by veering back onto the sidewalk.

    It was a brilliant act of arrogance.

  16. I’m a resident on Capp and while the temporary barriers are looking a little sad after the beating they took their first weekend, even so, I can’t begin to tell you what a positive difference they’ve made to the residents who live here. Being able to sleep all weekend without the constant noise from traffic and yelling; feeling safe coming home late at night; seeing more neighbors hanging outside and their kids able to play out front before dinner time…these may seem like little things, but they’re huge in terms of quality of life for the residents of this community.

  17. What a hilariously stupid idea. After the 24th BART plaza disaster you’d think HRonen would come up with something better than another fence. Is it time to vote her out yet?

  18. The best nights of sleep in over a decade, since the barriers went up.

    Thank you My Neighbors, SFPD, Hillary, Santiago & SFMTA.

    Next step, pls permanently move the sex work to a 100% commercial zone district.

    Someone reported the sex workers have moved to southern Bernal.

  19. As someone who lives on Capp Street, I am grateful for this reprieve from the lawlessness that’s gotten worse over the past few months. Our street has returned to a residential zone, with kids playing, people biking, and cleaner streets.

    As I was fixing the barricade one morning, I had a guy get out of his car to argue with me. The other side is closed, he said (which is completely false). He spent more time arguing with me than it would have taken to just turn around.

    I would rather drive north for half a block than south for half a block — such a small price to pay to not have to live in a damned red light district.

    These barricades are working as intended. I can’t wait for the larger harder-to-move versions.

    1. Legalize prostitution!!! I live 1 block from all this. I talk w the women that walk this cat walk and they are awesome! Baracades only being more negative attention and danger to these women and the people that live on Capp street. When is American society going to figure sex out. Baracades will not stop an industry that has been around sense the begining of time. Legalizing prostitution will make everyone’s lives safer and better all around. Prohibition does not work.