Traffic in San Francisco is never a picnic, but this weekend could be particularly nightmarish for motorists because a couple of major events are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people to The City.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates traffic in The City, has already shut down a segment of Howard Street in anticipation of the 45,000 attendees of the annual Oracle OpenWorld convention at the Moscone Center. Along with the Howard Street closure between Third and Fourth streets, the convention will shut down Mason Street between O’Farrell and Ellis streets, although that won’t happen until Saturday morning.
The SFMTA has set up detours to steer motorists around the road closures, and 13 bus lines also will be affected.
Adding to the traffic confusion today will be the start of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park, which is expected to attract 60,000 visitors for each of its three days. Roads in the park nearest to the festival will be shut down daily, but none outside will be closed, according to Paul Rose, SFMTA spokesman. The concert — slated to take place at Speedway, Marx and Lindley meadows — will last from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. In anticipation of the crowds, the SFMTA, which operates Muni, will add increased service to its N-Judah, 5-Fulton, 29-Sunset and 28-19th Avenue routes, said Rose.
And to make traffic matters even worse today, cyclists are set to take over the streets for the monthly Critical Mass ride starting at 6 p.m. at Justin Herman Plaza.
Travelers are encouraged to use public transit or avoid driving in affected areas this weekend, according to Rose.
But while motorists are stuck in traffic this weekend, they can ponder this bit of good news: Congestion in San Francisco has actually improved recently. The metro area is the seventh most congested region in the country — which is one spot better than the prior year’s ranking, according to the latest report from the Texas Transportation Institute.
Events affecting traffic, public transit
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Streets in Golden Gate Park near the three-day festival will be shut down. No streets outside the park will be closed. Muni will increase service on the N-Judah, 5-Fulton, 28-19th Avenue and 29-Sunset routes to deal with expected crowds.
Howard Street between Third and Fourth streets will be shut down for the software convention until 3 p.m. Oct. 7. Mason Street between Ellis and O’Farrell streets will be closed from 2 a.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Oct. 7. The SFMTA has set up detours around the center, and 13 bus lines will be rerouted.
Starts at 6 p.m. today at Justin Herman Plaza. Because there is no set route, the SFMTA and SFPD will monitor the event to make sure traffic goes as smoothly as possible.