Shared Street Closure Permit Renewal – 300 Block of Hayes

It is increasingly evident that justification for the Shared Street Closure on Hayes Street has run its course. The program, hastily enacted under emergency policy, has not been subject to community review since its initial roll out in August of 2020. This lack of process has allowed the permittee, HVNA (Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association), to control the closure without input from impacted local businesses, still struggling to recover from the economic fallout of the ongoing pandemic.

No data, metrics, or case studies to date have been provided to support maintaining this street closure. In fact, at any time of day, merchants on the 300 block are hindered by decreased foot traffic and parklets never at full capacity.

300 Hayes Street closure January 2022

It’s unfortunate that a health emergency has been used to overturn the democratic process and justify this closure by those who are motivated by ideology. This risky experiment at the expense of our local businesses has divided a community, cast logic to the wayside, and created a totalitarian approach by City Agencies and the permittee.

HVSafe questioned the lack of fair process and community input from the very beginning. In October 2020, our coalition petitioned to cease the closure on the 500 block of Hayes due to the severe financial loss it created for our neighborhood’s longest standing locally funded merchants. For an entire year, throughout the pandemic, we continued to work in tandem with the HVSBA (Hayes Valley Small Business Association) to reopen the 500 block of Hayes.

The situation on the 300 block of Hayes must be remedied immediately but we must also call attention to the serious lack of equity and representation in the sham process currently in play. This closure, lacking in lawful authority and democratic process, in conjunction with egregious overreach by non-elected bureaucrats and a neighborhood group, has failed our community. This must end.

Businesses on the block cite the following:

We don’t support the closure of the 300 block insomuch as we don’t see any benefit from it.  People are not using the closed street in any constructive or compelling way and we have not seen any positive impact for our business.  If anything it’s had the opposite effect.  Additionally, it creates a huge traffic snarl on Gough and Franklin, plus on Hayes westbound, not to mention the attendant parking issues.  Customers cite these as deterrents to shopping on Hayes Street during the weekends now.  The traffic cones and makeshift signage are unattractive and there simply is not enough foot traffic to justify turning the whole street over to pedestrians…

Our vendors from the local area drop off goods in our shop & our customers pick up their product curb-side. They’re both dependent upon being able to pull up curb-side to expedite these transactions. Our customers come in from the North, East & South Bay area… and beyond. Prior to Covid we had an international audience. Our customers rely on their car to get into the city. Instead of welcoming them with open arms to our little valley, they are greeted with “Tow Away” warning signs. The Shared Spaces Initiative gave away free space to vendors which takes business directly away from our business. It encroaches on our business in a profound way while at the same time not paying taxes to the city or rents to the landlords. It also distracts people from going into the local little store. People end up staying in the street cutting directly into our profits.

Local merchants pay outrageous rents plus we pay City & State taxes & fees. We also provide job opportunities to people. We are the loyal ones. Any street vendor or other live event is a distraction from shopping. The wasteland in the 300 block looks awful. It’s more charming with cars parked by the side walk. The empty space in the street looks like the Bombing of Dresden. It does in no way look quaint & charming like an Italian hilltop plaza with a water fountain.

For us the street closure is not significant, the thing that really helped was the parklet. We have plenty of room for outdoor seating, without the closure.

HVSafe and the HVSBA engaged in ongoing communications with SFMTA and the Supervisor’s Office as the 3rd round of the permit came up for renewal earlier this month. We were assured the 300 block would not to be part of the closure, but SFMTA informed us otherwise at the end of December – and, only after an arduous exchange.

We are deeply troubled that a small department head is wielding an emergency order as a basis to forgo the need for any community input. We are taking this matter public after having been given the runaround with the denial of clear explanations and withholding of pertinent information.

{We are sharing our correspondence with SFMTA upon request – please contact us.}

This past weekend we were informed of a poll circulating to some of the businesses on Hayes. This poll is illegitimate and those promoting it do not speak for our local small independent businesses. Bullying our businesses into having their data shared and asserting that a lack of response equates a vote in favor of continuing the street closure is simply anti-democratic. It is also disingenuous. Many of the businesses to which this poll was circulated have no on-site or local ownership, and corporate spokespersons will be reluctant to weigh in on community matters for which they have no historical understanding nor real interest.


Please send an email to Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Dean Preston, SF Planning & SFMTA to demand a transparent process.

Do not leave the work of civic action to others. Your opinion matters and it impacts decisions made by our City Agencies.