In today's edition of "how Super Bowl 50 might actually hurt San Francisco businesses and taxpayers" we hear from the Castro Merchants Association. The organization last week expressed concerns that the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee's plan to stop running historic F Line streetcars will result in a huge drop in tourism and corresponding revenue for the Castro — and that the city has no plan to mitigate these feared losses.
The streetcars will not be in operation as the "Fan Village" planned for Market Street will prevent it. As a substitute, the city intends to run buses.
At the Castro Merchants' monthly meeting last week, Castro business owner Miguel Lopez explained why he believes the bus system to be insufficient.
"[Tourists] are not going to take the buses here," The Bay Area Reporter quotes him as explaining, "they are going to go somewhere else. This neighborhood will suffer a lot."
Lopez isn't the only one concerned. At a SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council meeting held last week, notes The Examiner, Castro Merchants member Richard Magary spoke of the importance of the historic streetcars and the impact shutting them down will have.
“They bring large numbers of locals and tourists, and their substantial spending, which is why I’m here, to the mostly small independent often LGBT businesses in the Castro," said Magary. “This is about our livelihoods. We stand to lose lots of money, because that iconic railway isn’t there.”
The Examiner observes that although the Fan Village will only run for one week, SFMTA planning manager Peter Albert has confirmed that disruptions in public transit are expected to begin January 23 and run through February 12.
Stephanie Martin, a member of the Super Bowl 50 host committee, told Castro Merchants that the organization is trying to structure the Fan Village to encourage tourists to leave it — which, honestly, sounds a little confusing. BAR reports her as telling merchants gathered at last week's meeting that the Fan Village was intentionally designed with no food or drink options, so tourists would need to exit it to seek those things out.
What impact the temporary suspension of the F Line streetcars will have on Castro businesses remains ultimately unclear, but expect calls for the city to come up with a plan (other than buses) to grow louder as the event approaches.