Empty Bay Bridge means empty businesses

September 6, 2009 5:55:32 PM PDT
The closure of the bridge is having a negative impact on business in San Francisco. A lot of empty space could be found at clubs and restaurants which would normally be packed on a holiday weekend.

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The DJ at Fuse in San Francisco did not have anybody to play music for at 8:00 on a Saturday night. The East Bay crowd that usually keeps the place jumping is missing.

"I can see how this whole bridge thing isreally making a difference. Big difference," Jason Reyes told ABC7.

Friday night was also slow. Club managers say business was down at least ten percent.

"All the other clubs, they normally have lines outside, not really anybody. Same with this club Impala. They didn't really have many people either," Reyes said.

Motorists are not having any trouble finding available gas pumps at the stations near Bay Bridge on-ramps. Workers say it has been very slow, but people who live in the area are not complaining.

"It's been very nice, very quiet. There's no honking at night ever since Thursday night. Basically, it's been very nice and quiet," said July Hartono.

The streets and bars are emptier than usual. But, from the looks of things, people are still coming to the City. The Golden Gate Bridge was full from about noon on. Southbound traffic from Marin County into San Francisco came to a stop in Sausalito, but drivers did not get too worked up about it.

"We planned an extra hour ahead and we ended up with more than enough time. The traffic didn't back up until we hit Sausalito," recalled Chris Keegan of Sonoma.

The Bay Bridge closure appears to have actually helped the Sausalito Art Festival. Organizers think locals decided to stay home and avoid traffic.

"We haven't been affected by the Bay Bridge closure. Our attendance is up today," said the festival's executive director Demetri Rizos.

The Bay Bridge closure was the last thing on the mind of photographer Dennis Kohn as he planned for the festival.

"I'm more nervous about the economy than people getting here. The show has been going on long enough and it is well enough known in the Bay Area that the people will come on eway or another," he told ABC7.

With the closure bringing a bump in business in Sausalito and quiet nights for San Francisco residents, Caltrans may actually get requests for a repeat performance next Labor Day weekend.

When asked if she would like to see the Bay Bridge closed again, Hartono laughingly said, "Yes please!"

Of course, business owners in San Francisco are not laughing. They do not appreciate the closure. If the crack in one of the beams delays the opening beyond Tuesday it would be terrible news after such a slow summer in a down economy.

East Bay BART stations open 24 hours:
Concord
El Cerrito del Norte
Walnut Creek
Downtown Berkeley
MacArthur
Oakland City Center
Bay Fair
Coliseum/Oakland Airport
Dublin/Pleasanton

SF and Peninsula BART stations open 24 hours:
Embarcadero
Powell Street
24th Street Mission
Daly City
SFO Airport

MORE:

Watch our live web cam of the Bay Bridge Labor Day weekend construction.

Watch a 1930s film about the building of the original Bay Bridge.

For more information about the Bay Bridge closure during the Labor Day weekend, check out our resources page.

For transit options, visit www.511.org/baybridge

For the latest on the Bay Bridge construction project, visit baybridgeinfo.org

Follow updates on the bridge closure on Twitter at twitter.com/BayBridgeInfo

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