Officials gear up for MacArthur Maze
By Tamara Barak
April 30, 2007
San Francisco officials are gearing up for the first weekday
evening commute since an early
Sunday tanker fire caused the collapse of a major section
of freeway at Oakland's MacArthur Maze.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said that while this morning's
commute on San Francisco buses and railways was lighter than usual,
the number of people using public transit to avoid area freeways
is expected to rise.
"Not by any stretch of the imagination is there anyone who
thinks we're out of the woods," Newsom said at a news conference
at San Francisco City Hall this morning.
San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency Director Nate Ford said
Muni has prepared for tonight's commute, which is complicated
by a Giants game.
The city will increase its number of parking control officers
and supporting police officers, Ford said. Eight additional Muni
trains will shuttle people to and from AT&T Park, while 21
parking officers will be assigned for pre-and-post-game traffic
As commuters rely increasingly on public transit, additional
station agents will help passengers transferring from Bay Area
Rapid Transit to Muni, Ford said. There will also be extra Muni
buses to deal with potential overcrowding at the Ferry Building
and the Transbay Terminal.
Traffic officers will be stationed at all seven offramps of the
Bay Bridge during the evening commute. Muni officials are monitoring
traffic patterns and will base their service on the daily results,
BART will add extra trains during both morning and evening commutes
this week and lengthen regularly scheduled trains to expand capacity
by more than 50 percent, according to U.S. Congresswoman Barbara
In addition, Golden Gate Bridge officials may open four northbound
lanes during the evening commute if traffic is heavy and AC Transit
will add buses for the evening commute from San Francisco to the
East Bay. Vallejo Baylink Ferry will add extra service and parking
for commuters, according to Lee's office.
San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong pleaded for patience.
"It will be congested," she warned. "Road rage,
or getting in a fight, isn't going to move traffic. It's going
to stop traffic. We're all in this together. We're all trying
to get somewhere."
Monique Moyer of the Port of San Francisco said ferry service
from Oakland and Alameda will be quadrupled this week. However,
with seven cruise ships expected to dock and high tourist traffic
to Alcatraz, "It will be a challenging week for the Embarcadero."
Newsom stressed that local agencies were well-coordinated in
their response to the overpass collapse thanks to regional disaster
"This is not a dress rehearsal. This is serious," he
However, it is also an opportunity to sharpen the city's response
to a catastrophic incident like an earthquake.
"We're able to see where the protocols worked and where
they didn't," he said.
The mayor this morning signed a declaration for a local state
of emergency that will allow the city reimbursement for the free
transit offered today. Free Muni service alone cost the city an
estimated $500,000, Newsom said.
Free transit has not yet been offered for Tuesday's commute.
Newsom acknowledged that San Francisco's economy is dependent
on its accessibility.
"The city is open for business. People are getting in and
around the region," he said.
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