Business owners wary of Sunday Streets' schedule

Now that two Sunday Streets pilot events in San Francisco have been held, some merchants at Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf still say they don't want the event to happen during the summer, the area's peak business period.

“We're not against the event,'' said Bob MacIntosh, CEO of Pier 39. “We're against the event at the busiest time of the year.''

The Sunday Streets initiative closed a 4.5-mile stretch of streets to cars, from the Bayview District to Chinatown, allowing residents to partake in physical activities such as jogging, biking and walking between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

MacIntosh said street closures are obstacles for drivers trying to visit the Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, and expressed concern when the events were announced.

He said business at the Pier 39 parking garage was down 11 percent this past Sunday — the second Sunday Streets day — compared with the previous Sunday, when the event was not held. Blue and Gold Fleet, which provides ferry service from Pier 39, was down 7 percent, he said.MacIntosh said 39 businesses at Pier 39 compared their sales between this past Sunday and Sept. 7. Twenty-two reported a decrease in sales while 17 reported an increase, he said.

The two Sunday Streets events this year were part of a pilot phase.

MacIntosh said he intends to speak with Mayor Gavin Newsom's office about changing the dates if the event continues.

“It's a great event,'' he said. “It needs to be done at a different time of the year.''

Wade Crowfoot, the primary organizer of the event for the mayor's office, said officials are still deciding whether to bring the event back next year and that a decision will be made within the next few weeks.

He said the mayor's office is excited about the event, which drew thousands of attendees, and that many businesses along the route reported an increase in sales.

Crowfoot said officials recognize the “sensitivities around doing it in peak summer months'' and will continue to communicate with Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 merchants.

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