SF Braces For Crowded Weekend, 1 Million Visitors Expected
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP / BCN) — The head of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency is calling it “the World Series of transportation” for the City by the Bay.
A rare convergence of sporting and entertainment events this weekend means the crowded city could be welcoming a million extra people, eclipsing its own population of about 800,000.
The weekend will include the opening games of the San Francisco Giants divisional playoffs, a San Francisco 49ers game, the annual Fleet Week celebration featuring the Blue Angels and the America’s Cup World Series yachting races.
Add to that mix a highly popular bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park and street festivals in North Beach and elsewhere and it has the makings for jam-packed streets and transit challenges, even as the city’s economy gets a boost.
James Go, 25, who works in San Francisco but lives in nearby Daly City, said he usually comes into San Francisco on weekends, but was planning to stay away this weekend.
“The population is going to double. It’s not worth it,” he said, as he took a break on Friday from work at a downtown office building.
City officials said they were prepared for the crowds. The city has activated its emergency operations center and the police department has limited time off and reassigned officers from administrative and investigative assignments to the street.
“We are up to this challenge,” Mayor Ed Lee said. “We have departments working around the clock to make sure these things are managed well.”
MTA head Ed Reiskin said commuters should leave their cars at home during the weekend; he strongly encouraged people to bike, walk or use public transportation or taxis.
“This is like the World Series of transportation for us,” Reiskin said. “We’re ready for it… your job is to leave your cars at home.”
Muni will run extra service, particularly along the waterfront where crowds are expected to gather for Fleet Week and America’s Cup events. Bay Area Rapid Transit – which runs trains through the city to other parts of the Bay Area – will have longer trains and there will also be extra taxis on the street.
The busy weekend was also expected to spread to the San Francisco Bay and McCovey Cove, which usually draws crowds in kayaks and other boats for Giants games because it runs next to AT&T Park.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it anticipated crowded and congested waterways, triggering warnings to boaters to be mindful of marine mammals — particularly endangered humpback whales which have been spotted off of the San Francisco coast and shorelines over the past two weeks
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association urged boaters to watch for the whale’s blow to avoid collisions and warned that boaters should also not get between a whale cow and her calf.
The Coast Guard indicated parts of the Bay would be restricted to the public for Fleet Week and the America’s Cup. In addition, many Coast Guard boats would be monitoring the water enforcing safety, officials added.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)