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Golden Gate Bridge to close lanes during SF Marathon

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Northbound traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed Sunday, July 23, for the San Francisco Marathon. (Courtesy Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District)

In what officials are calling an “unprecedented” decision, cars will not drive alongside runners during the San Francisco Marathon next month — instead, northbound traffic will be closed that Sunday.

More than 15,000 runners will cross the Golden Gate Bridge for the San Francisco Marathon on July 23, who will now be protected by a moveable concrete median barrier, as southbound traffic drives normally along the other side.

The closure was decided by a vote of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District on Friday after staff feared some drivers may be compelled to criminally attack pedestrians using their vehicles during the race on July 23.

“In light of recent world events, and recognizing that it is, from a practical perspective, too late to change this year’s event to keep runners off of the roadway, staff strongly recommends that the bridge be closed to all northbound traffic,” Golden Gate district staff wrote in a report to the board.

The district has granted a special event permit to the marathon for 13 years, but in the future it may reconsider that decision, according to staff.

The marathon, which is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, is “sold out,” according to the district.

“This is a one-time decision to close the bridge northbound for this specific event,” the district wrote in a press statement. “The board will consider the broader policy issue of closing the roadway for events later this year.”

Approximately 4,500 vehicles have crossed the bridge heading north during the marathon in past years, according to the district. The marathon usually runs from 6 to 9 a.m.

“The alternate routes, while longer, are generally not congested during these early Sunday morning hours,” staff wrote in a report to the board.

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