Oracle OpenWorld Closes Part of SoMa This Week

Another corporate conference comes to town and brings gridlock to South of Market, coinciding with the Marriott strike and recent transit woes.

Oracle has literally rolled out the red carpet across Howard Street in SoMa for its annual Oracle OpenWorld conference, but that won’t be welcoming for everyday commuters who use that thoroughfare. Howard Street has been closed to traffic between Third and Fourth streets, and that closure will continue until Saturday, Oct. 27 as yet another round of South of Market conference throngs will complicate commutes throughout the week.

“There will be significant congestion in the area,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose tells the San Francisco Chronicle. “But there are ways to get around.” To that end, the SFMTA has issued a traffic advisory encouraging people to take public transportation, and noting that both bike and automobile traffic will be rerouted to adjacent streets.

While Oracle OpenWorld is expected to draw 60,000 attendees this year, that’s not even half the size of the last month’s Dreamforce conference that brought nearly 200,000 conventioneers to the same area. But some locals are still sore from the massive traffic complications from that conference and the ill-timed discovery of cracked beams at the Salesforce Transit Center that shut down Fremont Street for 20 days.

Conference visitors will also be confronted with the Marriott Hotel strike picket lines at seven major downtown San Francisco hotels.  While the Chronicle reports that Communications Network Annual Conference, the Human Rights Campaign, and a handful of other events have canceled their Marriott reservations, all seven of those hotels are listed on the official OpenWorld hotel map as that strike enters its third week here in San Francisco.

If your ears are still ringing from Dreamforce’s Metallica and Janet Jackson concerts, be aware that Oracle has its own Beck, Portugal. the Man, and Bleachers outdoor concert scheduled for Wednesday night. That concert will be at AT&T Park, not at the Civic Center Plaza site of the Dreamforce concert.

All of this may create a less-than-ideal week for downtown commuters, SoMa residents, and noise-phobic dogs. But Oracle estimates that the event brought in $194 million in economic benefits to the Bay Area economy last year, and is poised to have a similar impact this year.


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