The “boulder battle” in a San Francisco neighborhood is over.
Residents who placed boulders on sidewalks to deter homeless camps have asked the city to remove the rocks, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
News of the effort unleashed a deluge of criticism, along with repeated incidents of people shoving the boulders off the sidewalk into the street, KPIX reported.
One woman falsely listed the boulders as free giveaways on Craigslist, then offered them for sale for $5 each, but the listings were taken down, KTVU reported.
“At the request of neighbors, San Francisco Public Works will remove the boulders on Clinton Park today and work on a longer-term solution,” said agency spokeswoman Rachel Gordon on Monday, according to The San Francisco Examiner. “We already are back at the drawing board.”
“I met with residents yesterday and they are feeling intimidated and frightened,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who represents the neighborhood, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“They didn’t like having drug dealing and violence outside their doors before, and they don’t like masked vigilantes coming in and protesting and removing rocks,” Mandelman said, according to the publication.
Residents said they collected $2,000 to buy and place the boulders to deter homeless people — whom they accuse of selling drugs, setting fires and starting fights — from setting up tents on the sidewalk, KGO reported.
The city initially said it had no plans to remove the boulders, which were placed on the outside of the sidewalk and did not impede pedestrians.
“Since the rocks, it has helped,” said neighbor Ernesto Jerez, KTVU reported.
But Eric Mills, who is homeless, said the rocks wouldn’t drive homeless camps away forever, KGO reported.
“I think they’re cool to look at but it’s not going to solve the problem for what they put them here for,” Mills said, according to KGO.
Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition On Homelessness, said the boulders, which she called “anti-homeless architecture,” weren’t going to solve San Francisco’s housing crisis, KTVU reported.
“”We have 1,200 people on the wait list for shelter. That’s for tonight. People have nowhere to go,” Friedenbach said., according to the station.
After news of the boulders broke last week, people began shoving the heavy rocks off the sidewalk into the street, KPIX reported. It happened at least three times, with city workers moving the rocks back twice.
In a series of Twitter posts, San Francisco resident Danielle Baskin related her attempts to get rid of the boulders via bogus Craigslist postings, KTVU reported.
“The rocks placement is barbaric and make walking more difficult for everyone,” Baskin wrote. “Hostile design breeds more hostility.”