It was an odd vision: Mayor Gavin Newsom spray-painting a public wall on the seedier section of Market Street, an area he's trying to clean up.
The mayor was actually helping an artist from Glen Park, Chor Boogie, create a colorful mural that is meant to help transform Mid-Market into a cleaner, safer and more attractive region for residents and visitors.
Newsom strolled down Market Street from Eighth Street to Sixth Street Friday to point out how new improvements made by The City are reshaping the area.
The mayor also said he wanted to show how new restrictions on private automobiles on Market are aiding his vision of morphing the area into the "Champs-Élysées of San Francisco.”
Some new amenities include outdoor seating for dining in front of Hotel Whitcomb, newly landscaped street medians, new garbage cans that encourage recycling, replanted trees and a series of new art exhibits, including those placed in abandoned storefronts. New awnings on storefronts were installed due to low-interest loans The City has offered to area merchants, he said.
The City has also increased its police presence in the area. There are 32 beat offers, 16 per shift – and some on horseback – patrolling the area, which is more than half the number prior to the Mid-Market changes, Newsom said. In February, police will open a sub-station for the officers on Market Street to be nearer to the action, Newsom said.
Street restrictions and continued improvements will continue beyond the six-week trial period, Newsom said. The mayor says he is considering extending street restrictions to private automobiles farther east after six months.