First, let's be clear: we love, love it when big public events take over parts of San Francisco. It's fun, and one of the things that makes us happy to live in a city. That said, the confluence of events taking place in San Francisco tomorrow might make things a little...tricky. We just want you to be aware.
As you know from paging through our (exclusive) gallery of parade floats, the parade and civic celebration in honor of the 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants will begin at noon on Friday, October 31. According to Mayor Ed Lee's office, the parade (which is an alcohol-free event) will begin at Market and Steuart Streets and will continue down Market Street to Civic Center Plaza, where the usual speeches and celebration will be held from the steps of City Hall.
According to Lee's office, "the parade route will be closed to traffic beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Additionally, Mission Street between Van Ness Avenue and The Embarcadero will be closed to traffic. Road closure restrictions will remain in place until parade attendees are fully cleared from the restricted route and the roads have been cleaned by Public Works." In other words, if you're taking Muni, stay underground, but "allow extra time as delays or detours are expected."
Speaking of traveling underground, BART expects record-breaking levels of ridership (were talking hundreds of thousands of baseball fans) Friday, as people head to and from the parade. They even made a video!
According to the transit agency, "large crowds are expected and passengers should anticipate long lines and crowded trains." As a result, BART will have extra staff and cops on hand, and will "run its rush hour service all day--using every available train possible."
BART will also keep on running until 2 a.m., which jibes nicely with the next event we need to be aware of, Halloween.
Though the big Castro Halloween celebration is but a fond memory, you can still expect a large number of partiers on the streets. The San Francisco Police Department says that they'll "monitor pedestrian and automobile traffic for any necessary public safety street closures," and something tells me that after last night, many cops' tolerance for bullshit might be a little lower than it usually is.
Muni warns partiers that "transit customers and motorists may experience delays and should allow extra travel time," Friday night, despite the fact that no street closures are planned. And, remember, kids are out trick-or-treating, too, so for pete's sake be careful, drivers.
Speaking of transit and motorist delays, though, Friday night is the last Friday of the month, and you know what that means: Critical Mass.
The monthly counter-cultural bike ride begins on Friday at 6 p.m. at Justin Herman Plaza. From there, nobody knows, as the route is always a surprise! The Halloween Critical Mass typical attracts a larger number of riders, many in costume. It's really fun to behold, but can also, as the SFMTA puts it, cause "heavy traffic in the area" (we just don't know for sure what that area will be). Motorists are once again "advised to allow extra travel time."
You know what else will require extra travel time? If it's raining, as has been predicted.
According to the National Weather Service, by way of the Chron, "San Francisco and Oakland have a 70 percent chance of seeing rain late Friday morning into the evening." KPIX 5 meteorologist Lawrence Karnow apparently concurs, saying that "rain and scattered showers are likely during the day Friday and on Halloween night throughout most of the Bay Area."
So, what does that mean for us? Damp trick-or-treaters, or none at all? Fewer parade revelers, or a BART car full of wet, cranky Giants fans heading home at 6? Cyclists gleefully splashing through puddles or wiping out in them?
Guess we'll have to find out. In any case, be careful, respect yourself and others, and pack an umbrella. This could be a really fun day, or a nightmare: it's up to you.