A parking garage adjacent to “Thrive City” plaza at the Golden State Warriors’ new Chase Center arena during a media tour on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Transportation troubles Chase Center ahead of opening

Chase Center attendees can’t park in 800-space UCSF garage across the street, but transit may save the day

Directly across the street from Chase Center Arena, the new home of the Golden State Warriors, sits a massive 800-space parking garage owned by the University of California San Francisco.

Not a single Warriors game attendee will be allowed to park there.

Nor will most of the estimated 18,000 Chase Center Arena attendees of games or events be able to park in the 900-space parking garage at the arena itself.

Those spaces are exclusively for Warriors players, their immediate support staff, and for a smattering of season ticket holders — including those who purchase tickets to the Warriors’ $2 million “Chase Club” lounges adorned with wall-size TV screens.

For everyone else, there’s public transit. A lot of it — and only a smattering of nearby parking garages.

The San Francisco Examiner called a number of nearby garages, and while some certainly will accept Chase Arena attendees, others, like UCSF Medical Center and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital garages, will not.

“I didn’t realize there were nearby parking garages that won’t be available for Chase Center events,” said Cat Carter, a spokesperson for the Transit Riders advocacy group. “However, as congested as the area is, it’s probably for the best. There isn’t room for any more cars on the streets in Mission Bay.”

The City is largely in agreement with the Transit Riders group, and hopes Muni may yet be able to save the Warriors’ bacon as part of a long-planned effort to direct transit in the area.

Just in time for Chase Arena to kick off its first event — a Metallica concert — Muni is relaunching its two gameday bus lines from the long-defunct Candlestick Park, the 78X and 79X.

Yes, those with fond memories of taking those express buses to San Francisco’s windy ballpark can ride those lines again to Chase Center, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced August 21.

Those buses used to be called the Candlestick Express, but now have been rebranded the 78X 16th Street Arena Express and the 79X Van Ness Arena Express. The first will run from 16th and Mission Street BART down to the arena, and the second will run the length of Van Ness to the arena.

And remember, the Warriors’ previously announced that gameday tickets will double as passes for free Muni rides to Chase Center.

Those new Muni routes also join a suite of other transit options to Chase Center: Ferries at Piers 48 and 52, BART available at the 16th Street Station nearby, the nearby Caltrain 4th and King station for Peninsula attendees, Uber and Lyft-specific pickup spots along Terry A Francois Boulevard behind the arena, taxi cab stands near the arena, and even a bicycle valet service.

That bike valet service will not serve bikeshare options, but those riding their bikes to Chase Center arena can ride to Sixteenth Street and Terry A Francois Boulevard, hand off their bike to an SF Bike member and have it parked at one of 300 bike parking spots.

This mix of alternative transit options may relieve pressure on Bayview residents and workers who depend on the T-Third Muni train, which itself is expected to see thousands or riders on their way to the newly unveiled double-long platform just outside Chase Center.

“We live in the community and work in the community,” said Angela Harrison, a Bayview resident who works at the Safeway near Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The Examiner spoke to her aboard the train on her way to work, Monday.

T-Third Muni service is “terrible at night after a game,” she said.

Harrison fears the same will be true of Warriors games now, too — especially on nights when the Giants also play.

City and basketball officials, from Mayor London Breed to Warriors President Rick Welts, are asking the public to take transit to the Warriors Arena. It’s a gamble to see if the public will adjust their driving habits for Warriors games, some have publicly said, and one accompanied by roughly 2,000 parking spots available in nearby lots and garages.

But there still seems to be some confusion about where people can park.

On Monday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff arrived at Chase Center for his first-ever tour of the arena. When the Examiner asked if he was concerned about parking availability in the area, he answered with a firm “no.”

Benioff had parked at the garage serving the hospital that bears his name, just across the street.

“There’s lots of parking here,” he said.

Just a few days later, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital parking officials emailed the Examiner its newest signage for that very same parking lot, to be used exclusively on Chase Center event days.

It reads, simply, “NO CHASE CENTER EVENT PARKING — UCSF TRANSPORTATION CAMPUS LIFE SERVICES.”

Whoops.

joe@sfexaminer.com

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