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San Francisco Arbitrarily Closes 16th Street and 24th Street BART Plazas with No Public Process
by San Francisco Food Not Bombs (sffnbvolunteers [at] riseup.net)
Saturday Apr 18th, 2020 7:26 AM
On April 16, the city of San Francisco barricaded the 16th Street/Mission and 24th Street/Mission BART Plazas except for walkways into the stations. The walkway at the 24th Street Plaza is exactly six feet wide, making it physically impossible for people passing each other to maintain proper physical distance.
sm_screen-shot-2020-04-16-at-5.31.21-pm-e1587085917896-906x640.jpg
16th Street/Mission BART Plaza, Photo from Bart Director Bevan Dufty’s Twitter Page

On April 16, the city of San Francisco barricaded the 16th Street/Mission and 24th Street/Mission BART Plazas except for walkways into the stations. The walkway at the 24th Street Plaza is exactly six feet wide, making it physically impossible for people passing each other to maintain proper physical distance. San Francisco has closed the public spaces around only these two Mission District stations, not at any of the other six San Francisco BART stations.

These two plazas are some of the only public spaces available to homeless and poor people, many of whom live in tiny SRO rooms. Supposedly, the reason to close the plazas is to enforce physical distancing. However, by closing the plazas, San Francisco has forced people to hang out in an even smaller area, most notably on the sidewalks near the plazas, making it more difficult to maintain six feet of separation among each other.

This arbitrary and discriminatory closure of the BART Plazas is the latest example of San Francisco trying to erase poor and homeless people from public view.

BART and San Francisco held no public meetings and did not solicit any public input before closing the plazas.

Outraged?

Contact these elected officials.

Bart Director Bevan Dufty: 510-464-6095, bevan.dufty [at] bart.gov.

San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen: 415-554-5144, Hillary.Ronen [at] sfgov.org.
§24th Street/Mission BART Plaza
by San Francisco Food Not Bombs
Saturday Apr 18th, 2020 7:26 AM
sm_24thmission_bart_plaza.jpg
Photo from Gay Shame Twitter Page
§Email Response from BART Director Dufty
by San Francisco Food Not Bombs (sffnbvolunteers [at] riseup.net)
Sunday Apr 19th, 2020 9:57 AM
A concerned community member wrote to BART Director Dufty and Supervisor Ronen and received the following response from Dufty:

"Thanks for your message.

The closure of the Plazas was initiated by the City and I was advised when the fencing was about to be installed.

I also have had constituents who reached out about a reported lack of social distancing some weeks ago and I confirmed that bilingual signage mandating social distancing was installed by BART.

I have copied The Captain and Public Health Director, as I can’t speak to what led up to the decision.

I have worked with the many members of the SRO community in the immediate area and know how limited open space is and how important it is for the neighborhood.

We are following the City’s guidance and I am continuing to hear from constituents on both sides of the fencing.

Best regards
B
415 595-3213"

Additional email address:

Mission Station Police Captain Gaetano Caltagirone--gaetano.caltagirone [at] sfgov.org

SF Department of Public Health Director Grant Colfax--grant.colfax [at] sfgov.org. Colfax's email account is bouncing. Why?

BART Chief Communications Officer Alicia Trost--ATrost [at] bart.gov
§Another Email Response from BART Director Dufty
by San Francisco Food Not Bombs (sffnbvolunteers [at] riseup.net)
Monday Apr 20th, 2020 4:32 PM
“The City has the authority and made this decision because of their responsibility to maintain public health. I learned about this the day the fencing was installed. BART staff was advised about three days earlier.

Your message has been shared with San Francisco’s Chief Public Health Officer, Tomas Aragon, and Public Works Department’s Public Affairs Officer, Rachel Gordon. Public Works installed the fencing and they can speak to the width of walkways and whether your suggestion can be addressed.

The messages I have received have been divided, fairly equally, between supporters of Plaza closures and opponents. I have also always viewed the plazas and essential respite, especially for our SRO neighbors. Balancing that with maintaining social distancing seems to have come to an impasse from the City’s perspective.

BART previously had bilingual social distancing signage that we are now updating so that it’s clear the Stations are both open to essential workers and those who must take transit to essential medical care and other critical needs.

Thanks for your message,

Bevan
415 595-3213 Mobile”

Additional email addresses.

SF Department of Public Health Chief Public Health Officer Tomas Aragon: tomas.aragon [at] sfdph.org

SF Public Works Director of Policy and Communications Rachel Gordon: rachel.gordon [at] sfdpw.org

BART Assistant Chief Transportation Officer Paula Fraser: pfraser [at] bart.gov
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