SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Dual events happening simultaneously at two of San Francisco’s biggest venues were giving rise to traffic concerns Tuesday evening.
It’s not just an event in the new Chase Center, but a Dave Matthews Band concert down the street from a San Francisco Giants game. Is this the combination that will result in traffic gridlock from China Basin to the Bayview?
“Yes it will,” predicted James McConnell, having just arrived by Muni to Oracle Park. “Because, as I’ve said before many times, people will not give up their cars to come to these events when we have public transportation.”
The fresh traffic concerns along 3rd Street come even though Chase Center’s first concert, Metallica last week, wasn’t exactly heavy on traffic complaints.
Some heading to Chase Center for the 8 p.m. concert drew from their experience getting to the first Metallica concert via the T Line.
“It went great, it takes is a little longer to wind through the new Dogpatch area, so we just got off here at the ballpark and we’re just going to walk down,” said Mike Olcese of San Francisco.
Ahead of the events, both venues urged music and sports fans to take public transportation. Special bus lines 78x and 79x started two and a half hours before showtime. Every concert ticket at Chase Center doubles as a free Muni ticket.
“We got off at 16th and Mission BART and we walked right up and we had several people out there wearing orange vests and pointed us right to the bus that had pulled up and we got right on it, it was super easy,” said Kimberly Nieves of Hayward.
Khalil Habeeb also took advantage of the free bus service to Chase Center.
“We actually live in Marin, and so we parked at Market and Van Ness and took the bus, rather than try to deal with this,” he said.
In order to provide extra buses, District 10 Supervisor Shamaan Walton said he learned that SFMTA reduced bus service in his district, which includes parts of SoMa and Visitacion Valley.
“That’s extremely unacceptable, and it goes to show you that low-income communities are treated as second-class citizens when they prioritize people with means,” Walton said in a phone interview with KPIX 5.
In a statement to KPIX 5, SFMTA said:
“As a result of our ongoing Operator shortage, we are having to pull operators from lines throughout the system to provide the supplemental Chase Center event service. While we never want to miss service anywhere, providing strong transit options to the Chase Center is critical to getting people on transit and reducing auto congestion. Without the transit service to Chase, we would have seen high auto use and ripple effects on transit reliability throughout the eastern part of the City, especially on routes like the 8 Bayshore, which use the freeways.”
SFMTA says typically, it expects only one additional missed run on an event day, rather than the three it projected Tuesday for the 8 Bayshore.
It added that it is graduating a class of 41 new operators on Friday. This is on top of the 160 new operators SFMTA has graduated so far this year.
The use of both ballpark and arena was one of the chief concerns back when this location was announced.
“When you could have people coming in for a Giants game, people coming in for a Taylor Swift, Madonna concert,” said one arena opponent in 2015. Swap Madonna for Dave Matthews and here is that same eventuality in 2019.
Worth noting, however, is that San Francisco is a bit removed from the height of Giants demand. Just last night, the team played to its smallest home crowd since 2010, just under 27,000 people in a building that holds 42,000.
“Yeah, you don’t have as many attendees, so you got a good point there,” says McConnell. “But, what’s gonna happen when we have the Giants at full force and Chase Center at full force?”
That scenario might not even require the Giants. Oracle Park just announced a Green Day-headlined concert for July. That could conceivably overlap with another event at Chase. July might also bring something else to San Francisco.
“Transit projects being late? I don’t know how you could suggest that,” joked Rick Welts last week, taking a jab at the delayed Central Subway project. When complete, it will make for a more direct route to Chase from downtown.
That still won’t change the most fundamental part of the equation on 3rd Street. “Stay out of this area with your car,” said neighbor Terry Owen. “That’s my advice. Don’t try to drive around here.”