Just days after concrete barriers were removed from Capp Street and new steel bollard replacements were left to their own devices, some of the new bollards have already been damaged and knocked over.
The collapsible yellow steel bollards along Capp Street from 18th to 22nd streets are intended to limit car traffic on the Mission’s informal red light district. The posts are held upright with pins, but already, several of the padlocks keeping the pins in place have been removed.
Others are missing their pins altogether, and keel over with a push of the hand. Residents have put wooden planters out as reinforcement, keeping the bollards upright. On Wednesday, workers installed new signage to accompany the already damaged barriers.
“We are worried about their fortitude,” said resident Jason Schlachet. “I’m glad they are there, but they need to be effective.”
The south end of the 18th and Capp intersection is blocked with bollards, as are the north ends of the 20th and Capp, 21st and Capp, and 22nd and Capp intersections.
The far more impenetrable concrete slabs that preceded the bollards were only removed on Saturday. Those hulking barriers had been covered in graffiti, and the Fire Department raised concerns about accessibility in case of an emergency.
Emergency vehicles like fire trucks are able to drive over the new bollards and collapse them, and the city can later replace the pins that hold them in place.
But, it seems civilian vehicles — or people with bolt cutters — can also flatten the steel posts.
Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon said she was unsure of how the damage occurred.
“We’re looking into why it failed, and how we can make sure they’re secured going forward,” she said.
For now, many residents are still pleased with the effects of blocking the streets: Several residents said at a police community meeting, held earlier this week, that sex work and car traffic has practically disappeared on the blocks where the barriers were installed.
Children’s chalk drawings can be seen in the middle of the street, and traffic is minimal. Loading trucks park along the barriers, without having to use a parking spot or block the roadway.
“For the first time in 40 years, I can open my window at night,” said one woman at the community meeting. “Literally … I can open my window at night without having to listen to arguments, and cars rock back to back to back.”