I know 6th Street in San Francisco very well.
A small non-profit group is working with the City to clean up 6th St. There is a good reason: the main freeway into the heart of the City comes to 6th Street from the South. Sixth Street is a mess, with bums, graffiti, liquor stores and squalid hotels. A rather disappointing introduction to the City.
Can 6th Street be cleaned up enough to make it presentable as a City entry gate?
No! Emphatically no. If anyone had ever asked me I would have said to divert incoming tourist and visitor traffic to another street and prettify the other street.
You can't change 6th St. unless and until you move the street people to somewhere else that is not far away that will appeal to them. I know those street people. I built a park for them in 1979 at Sixth and Minna. They have a very solid, stable and viable social network on Sixth Street that can only be moved with great understanding and incentives.
The incentives that will work include a park that they can sit in, drink in and be safe. They want toilets, a basketball hoop and a water faucet. That is what we had in 6th Street Park. Nobody in this political, Puritan, Protestant society will give them those things. Protestant Puritanism expects you to "clean-up your act" and get a job.
The next blog is about what it takes to change a dead street into a live one, but 6th Street isn't a prospect because it is alive with a resilient comfortable population of street people, who won't be moved.