Fourth Street traffic plan to throw curveball at Giants fans

AP file photoTim Lincecum of the Giants

AP file photoTim Lincecum of the Giants

Drivers trying to escape after a Giants game at AT&T Park next season may face street closures that are aimed at reducing bottlenecks and speeding up Muni.

While the whole neighborhood is swamped with vehicles after AT&T Park events, northbound Fourth Street is particularly problematic because there is only one lane for both automobiles and Muni’s T-Third Street line, said Muni spokesman Paul Rose.

By banning cars on segments of Fourth Street, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is trying to encourage motorists to travel south on Third Street. From there, they will be able to take rights on 16th Street and then Seventh Street, putting them back in the northbound direction, Rose said.

“It’s a little difficult for some drivers to grasp,” Rose said. “But they really can move faster by traveling south to get north.”

Rose said the changes would also help speed up service on the T-Third Street light-rail line.

The proposed traffic changes were approved by an SFMTA engineering committee Friday. They will go for final authorization later this year by the full SFMTA board of directors.

Alfonso Felder, senior vice president of facilities for the Giants, said about 50 percent of the team’s fans drive to the games.

He said the new traffic modifications came from a collaborative effort between the team, the SFMTA and neighborhood residents.

Corinne Woods, a Mission Bay resident, said the SFMTA has been experimenting for years with traffic modifications to ease the congestion at AT&T Park, and so far, it has found little success.

“The drivers for Giants games are a little like lemmings,” Woods said. “I just know that one of them is going to try and sneak up Fourth Street and 25 others are going to follow. It could just make things even more confusing down there.”

Felder said the team and the SFMTA will monitor the changes over the course of the next season, which starts April 6.

“If they don’t work out, we will come back to the drawing board for next season,” Felder said.

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