Watch CBS News

San Francisco's Filthy Streets Getting A Deep Cleaning; 'It Smells A Lot Better'

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco is famous for many things, but it has also become notorious for being filthy. On Thursday, two programs were launched with the goal of changing that.

Armed with pressure washers and a pungent peppermint deodorant, crews took on the filth and grime along Fillmore Street, officially kicking off the city's expanded street cleaning efforts.

"So we can do a lot more detailed work than we normally do," said Rachel Gordon of San Francisco Public Works of the new effort to clean up the city. "We dig out weeds from the sidewalk. We paint out graffiti everywhere. We flush down the roadway with water."

Local resident Tamisha Williams was among those thankful for the effort.

"It looks better," Williams said. "These streets really need to be cleaned, so it's really nice to see."

Thursday's operation, 10 blocks of cleaning over eight hours, will now happen once a week, rotating through different commercial corridors around the city.

"You know, we started today in the Fillmore," Gordon explained. "We're going to be in the Castro, Ingleside, West Portal, Bayview, and North Beach."

"This is a fundamental service that a modern city should provide," said Supervisor Matt Haney, addressing another specific street filth challenge.

There was a small gathering in the Tenderloin to mark the permanent expansion of the city's public bathroom resources.

There will now be 19 "pit stops" around the city, 10 of which will be open and staffed 24 hours a day.

Keeping San Francisco clean is a challenge that has vexed city leaders for years, the problems growing worse even as the city's budget has ballooned to more than $13 billion.

"We certainly have the resources," Haney said. "We're a city that unfortunately has become known for being filthy in some cases, and feces and all of that. This is a proactive, common sense way to address that problem."

So more bathrooms and more street cleanings start now. Williams, for one, appreciated the work in the Fillmore today.

"It smells a lot better," she said. "And it makes us feel better in the community."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.