San Francisco’s ‘dirtiest block’ defies tech-fueled housing boom

A stretch of Hyde Street received most complaints over last decade

(Credit: Pixabay)
(Credit: Pixabay)

The “dirtiest block” in San Francisco is only a short walk from the offices of multi-billion-dollar tech companies that have helped push the median price of a home in the city to over $1 million.

The 300 block of Hyde Street, in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, received 2,227 complaints about street and sidewalk cleanliness in the past decade — more than any other in San Francisco, according to a report in the New York Times.

The Tenderloin is a neighborhood of aging, subsidized and single-occupancy apartment buildings. Studio apartments on Hyde Street rent for about $1,500, while the median rent in the city is $4,500, according to the Times.

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The report described the span of Hyde Street as a nightmarish scene resembling a third-world country, with heroin needles, human excrement and “yellow soup oozing out of a large plastic bag.” Homelessness, drug use and drug dealing are prevalent in the area, and so many people sleep on the street that one resident referred to their area as “the land of the living dead.”

Meanwhile, only a 15-minute walk away are offices for Twitter and Uber–two companies that are part of the Bay Area’s booming tech economy that has super-fueled housing and rental prices.

Despite the state of Hyde Street, San Francisco spends a lot to try to keep up appearances. The city spends $35 million a year on street cleaning, not including overhead, far more than 11 other U.S. cities that were studied in a recent report, including Los Angeles. [NYT]–Alexei Barrionuevo