SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — While much of the economy remains closed, one essential sector is busier than ever in San Francisco, and that is the city’s Department of Public Works.

“We are out here cleaning streets,” said department spokesperson Rachel Gordon. “We’re taking care of tree emergencies. We’re cleaning up graffiti.”

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Masked, and instructed to keep their distance, San Francisco Public Works crews are trying to take advantage of city’s downtime, starting with potholes.

“This is an ideal time to do it,” said Gordon. “There’s not a lot of traffic in San Francisco, so this is an opportunity to get the streets safe and smooth again.”

And while much of the city’s workforce stays home, work continues on most public projects, things like sidewalk and park improvements.

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“Construction projects, a lot of them that we’ve been working on are going ahead, as they are considered essential,” Gordon explained. “Haight Street, 2nd Street, not far from here on Jefferson Street, that work is continuing.”

There is one area where the city may be seeing the need for more work, and that is the problem that already costs San Francisco $20 million a year.

“We are working really hard to keep the city clean, but we are seeing that there’s a lot of graffiti in town,” Gordon said of taggings left during the city shutdown. “So we wish that the graffiti vandals would shelter in place a little more.”

While the pothole crew is able to complete more jobs per day because of less traffic, some of those workers have also occasionally been asked to perform work related to the pandemic response.

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