The city of San Francisco on Monday removed about two dozen small boulders from a residential side street after a group of neighbors had them installed last week in an effort to deter homeless people from camping out on the sidewalk amid the city's ongoing crisis.
San Francisco’s Public Works removed the rocks set up along Clinton Park in the city's Mission Dolores neighborhood. Residents last week said they pooled their funds to keep drug users from having a space to shoot up as they camp out overnight.
The department’s director, Mohammed Nuru, told the San Francisco Examiner that the boulders installed by the residents “were not big enough” and began posing a safety concern as they were being pushed into the street. He said the city would work with residents to come up with a more permanent solution that “could involve larger boulders or a landscape plan.”
“They would have saved a lot of money and a lot of trouble if they just said something to us,” Daniel Bartosiewicz, a homeless man who said he’s camped in Clinton Park for the past two months, told the Bay Area’s KNTV. “Use your compassion and love and understanding. We’re humans.”
The San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness reacted to the city’s decision to remove the Clinton Park boulders, writing: “They should remove all the anti-homeless design and hostile architecture from the rest of the city while they're at it — most of which are *City-sanctioned.*”
The city and state have implemented similar landscaping choices in an effort to deter homeless encampments in other neighborhoods. The California Department of Transportation has put rocks in an open space off Bayshore Boulevard to deter encampments, while the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Branch of the San Francisco Public Library – in the same neighborhood – has made design choices that are perceived as anti-homeless, according to KTVU.
San Francisco has long struggled with problems of human waste and needles on the streets of the Tenderloin district, where many addicts and homeless people are typically found. The city has set up public toilets and last year announced the creation of a special six-person "poop patrol" team to clean up the human waste.
Fox News' Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.