Any weekend boasting a Giants playoff matchup at AT&T Park and a 49ers home game could be considered epic by San Francisco standards. But for the first weekend of October, those contests might actually be considered the underdogs.
An unprecedented confluence of major events is expected to bring more than 1 million spectators to San Francisco from Oct. 5 to Oct. 7, forcing The City’s already overstretched transit system to devise a game plan to manage the crowds.
Along with the 49ers-Buffalo Bills matchup and Giants games — which, as of current National League standings, would be Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 — San Francisco also will host the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, a free concert in Golden Gate Park, and Fleet Week, an air show based mainly in the northern part of The City.
But that’s not all. The America’s Cup, the world’s premier regatta, will hold World Series races in the Bay starting Tuesday, and a cruise ship will be docking at Pier 35. The Italian Heritage Parade will take place in North Beach, the Castro Street Fair will be held in its eponymous neighborhood and several thousand people are expected to attend the Burning Man Decompression street fair in the Dogpatch neighborhood.
All told, at least 1.01 million people are expected to attend the events. Whew.
“I honestly can’t think of a time when we had so many events running simultaneously,” said Joe D’Alessandro of the San Francisco Travel Association, a tourism organization. “But it’s all good for San Francisco.”
D’Alessandro said his office is recommending visitors use public transit or walk to events, advice that is being echoed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni and manages traffic in The City.
Muni, which has struggled to maintain service levels on normal weekdays, will attempt the herculean task of meeting the needs of all the event attendees. For the America’s Cup and Fleet Week, the agency will run bus shuttles to supplement its F-line service while also deploying more streetcars as part of its E-line pilot program on The Embarcadero. It also will run a 47-Limited bus line on Van Ness Avenue and set aside a lane solely for bicycle use on The Embarcadero, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said.
In the western part of The City near Golden Gate Park, the agency will add trains on the N-Judah light-rail line and more buses on the 5-Fulton, 28-19th Avenue and 29-Sunset routes to take spectators to Hardly Strictly. The Candlestick Express bus route will be in place as usual for the Niners game.
Along with the transit accommodations, the SFMTA will issue 100 special taxi operating permits for the weekend.
Also, several taxi stands will be established near the events.
“This weekend will be a great one for our city, and we have the transportation system as prepared as it can be,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation. “We urge everyone to avoid delays by taking Muni, a bike, a taxi or a walk when getting around that week and weekend.”
|Fleet Week||Oct. 4 – 8||300,000/per weekend day|
|America's Cup||Tues. – Oct. 7||300,000|
|Hardly Strictly Bluegrass||Oct. 5 – 7||40,000/per day|
|Giants' playoff games||Oct 6-7||42,000/per day|
|Castro Street Fair||Oct. 7||150,000|
|Italian Heritage Parade||Oct. 7||150,000|
|49ers gmae||Oct. 7||68,00|
*The Giants currently have the third-best record in the National League. If the season ended today, the team would host the first two games of the National League Division Series against the team with the second-best record.