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Friday, August 28, 2009

Baseball, Aggro Cyclists, Rock Music Fans -- Is It a Perfect Storm of Friday Night Traffic?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 2:55 PM

click to enlarge May the force be with you
  • May the force be with you
Sorry for the lame headline cliche -- it's Friday afternoon, people. Normally that's good news. But if you count yourself in the pariah caste of San Franciscans who still commute by automobile, this evening may be a little less pleasant than usual. Public transit riders -- you may be screwed, too.

Two big events are likely to create huge traffic headaches today. First is Critical Mass, the "spontaneous" invasion of San Francisco streets by hordes of scofflaw bicyclists on the last Friday of every month. (As a colleague at SF Weekly notes, the "spontaneity" of this bike-nut ritual resembles that with which Chinese soldiers streamed into Korea in 1950.)

Second is the Outside Lands festival, which runs today, Saturday, and Sunday in Golden Gate Park. After a wildly successful first year, Outside Lands is expected to rock, again. But it's sure to make the city's streets and public-transit system groan with eager concert-goers, and tonight, in combination with Critical Mass, things could get ugly. Don't forget -- there's also a big Giants game vs. Colorado starting shortly after 7 p.m.

City officials assure us they've got things under control. Muni spokeswoman Kristen Holland says the city will have 46 parking control officers (you know them as meter maids) on the streets tonight, of which 17 will be deployed to the park to deal with traffic resulting from the festival. Police Department spokesman Sergeant Wilfred Williams says contingents of police officers will complement that effort.

"For those traffic issues that do occur, we'll have personnel out," Williams says. Holland gently puts it this way: Drivers tonight will probably need "an extra bag of patience."

Good luck to you, Snitch readers, as you flee your cubicles to enjoy some tunes in the park on this sultry summer eve -- or, alternatively, to massively inconvenience your fellow citizens with your cycling exploits. And don't forget: There's always Muni. (SF Appeal has posted a useful guide to public transit for Outside Lands here.)

Photo   |   th.omas

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