Public Works Identifies Top Neighborhood Issues

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Contact: Department of Public Works: 415-341-4530

Public Works Identifies Top Neighborhood Issues

Spruce Up by Sun Up Campaign Helping to Keep San Francisco Businesses and
Residents Stay Clean and Green

San Francisco, CA – The Department of Public Works (DPW) is taking advantage of a short break in its Spruce Up by Sun Up campaign to analyze data it has collected in the past four months of its early morning inspection program.  DPW has already conducted the majority of its scheduled Spruce Up inspections throughout San Francisco’s busiest streets, and has revealed cleanliness and quality of life issues.  The inspections come after three years of stepped up city services, coordination and outreach on 300 of San Francisco’s busiest streets.

“As the year closes, we have a lot to celebrate,” said Mohammed Nuru, Deputy Director of Operations at DPW. “Property owners and merchants now have the resources and information they need to keep their streets and sidewalks clean and green and as a result, the streets are much cleaner than they were three years ago. As we enter into our fourth year of street cleaning budget cuts, the partnerships that we have forged will be critical to the future cleanliness and quality of life on our busiest corridors.”


  • The area with the most recorded deficiencies was Mission Street between 18th and 22nd streets largely due to graffiti.
  • The area with the least recorded deficiencies was 3rd Street between 23rd and Galvez streets in the City’s Bayview neighborhood.
  • In the Sunset District (9th Avenue, Lincoln Way, Judah and Irving streets) inspectors identified 62 properties with excessive amounts of cigarette butts on the sidewalks. DPW will recommend that businesses install cigarette receptacles outside that are easily seen, accessible, and with enough capacity to prevent overflow.  Property owners will also be encouraged to sweep their sidewalks regularly - especially before and after business hours.
  • Downtown/Union Square (Geary Street, from Van Ness to Mason), 36 properties were identified as needing sidewalk cleaning.  Regular power washing will be recommended at highly trafficked areas.
  • The Mission District (Mission Street from 18th to 22nd streets) Although graffiti is a ubiquitous problem throughout San Francisco, this area stands out. Inspectors found 217 instances of graffiti here in just four blocks.  Property owners will be advised to hire a professional to abate the graffiti or paint over it themselves within 24 hours of an occurrence as a deterrent to future tagging.  In addition, DPW’s Graffiti Watch program provides training and tools to empower individuals to combat graffiti in an area they have chosen to steward.
  • Excelsior District (Mission Street, from Harrington to France streets) No garbage service notices were given to 46 residents here, the most during any one inspection. Garbage service is mandatory and the lack of it can often lead to illegal dumping, which costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year.  Property owners without service were instructed to contact Recology to begin or increase service.
  • West Portal (Ulloa St. to 14th Avenue) stood out with 118 trees that need to be properly maintained.  DPW provides an abundance of tree care recommendations and information on city guidelines that property owners can use to maintain trees for which they are responsible.  The Department also strongly suggests consulting or hiring a certified arborist.
  • Ocean  Avenue (Phelan to Capitol) had 10 street light outages, which were repaired by the SF Public Utilities Commission
  • Lower 24th Street (Potrero to Folsom) 48 tree basins were not flush with the sidewalk, which can cause tripping hazards. DPW filled the tree basins with decomposed granite.

All merchants and property owners receive an inspection schedule in advance with detailed information about City maintenance standards for garbage receptacles, tree foliage and basins; storefronts; awnings; and sidewalks. The goal of the campaign is to keep streets clean and inviting for residents, customers and other visitors.

The “Spruce Up by Sun Up” campaign is part of DPW’s Community Corridors Partnership Program, which has provided extensive education and outreach over the last three years by visiting streets at all times of the day and night to educate merchants and property owners about their responsibilities. In addition to education and outreach, the program improves the quality of life on busy San Francisco merchant corridors by providing city staff to clean sidewalks, remove graffiti on public property, and repair potholes.

The campaign will restart in January, in the South of Market area, and continue on through February 2011.

DPW is responsible for the care and maintenance of San Francisco’s streets and much of its infrastructure. The department cleans and resurfaces streets; plants and maintains City street trees; designs, constructs and maintains city-owned facilities; inspects streets and sidewalks; constructs curb ramps; removes graffiti from public property; and partners with the diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco to provide stellar cleaning and greening services. More information is available at