SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Attempts to reduce the sex trade in a residential neighborhood in San Francisco have raised the ire of the firefighters union, who say concrete barriers installed to reduce bumper-to-bumper cruising limit access for firetrucks and are ultimately unsafe.
Earlier this month, in an attempt to reduce the number of Johns cruising for sex workers in the residential neighborhood along Capp Street, city crews placed barriers at the south end of each block between 18th and 22nd Street to create dead-end streets.
“What we saw immediately was a substantial decline in the sex trade on Capp Street. Neighbors that have reported every day this week that they’ve been able to sleep, that the streets are clear, that they’re finally having a sense of peace in their neighborhood,” said Santiago Lerma, the aide to San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen.
But the flimsy barriers were knocked down, and some were destroyed on the first weekend. So this past weekend they were replaced with the concrete barriers you see on the freeway.
None were destroyed, but the barriers sent the firefighters union into a Tweet storm. They called the barriers unsafe and tweeted, “Selfish decisions that put others at risk can have dire consequences.”
“We have to stop allowing people who don’t understand PUBLIC SAFETY make uninformed and critical decisions,” firefighters tweeted.
The firefighters union didn’t respond to KRON4’s request for an interview, so it remains unclear why they took their complaints public as opposed to taking them to the fire chief. Supervisor Ronen and her staff spoke to the chief this weekend.
“We heard her concerns that the barricades would slow response and prevents or inhibit some certain access and in certain cases, where the bigger firetrucks needed to maneuver around,” Lerma said.
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Now a meeting has been set for Tuesday to come up with some solutions that will meet the needs of all parties involved.
“The goal is to disrupt the cruising and the behavior that’s associated with the sex trade. So, you know, I think, looking at it from that lens, you know, what can we accomplish in a way that accomplishes that goal, but also allow for the trucks to get through?” Lerma said.