San Francisco welcomes 2011

December 31, 2010 11:45:51 PM PST
The city prepared for large crowds for New Year's Eve in San Francisco. Along the Embarcadero, barricades were up to help police keep order -- with an estimated quarter million partiers expected to line the bay front.

San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon encouraged people to stay safe while celebrating the holiday.

"We want people to come to San Francisco; we want people to have fun. But we want people to be safe. There is going to be a high level of deployment for New Year's Eve. A lot of people from our administrative bureau have volunteered and are working that night. We have also moved around our shift to increase our deployment without having to increase our overtime expenditures because we don't have the money to spend," said Gascon.

In particular, officers said they would be cracking down on public drunkenness, open containers, underage drinking, driving under the influence and firearm discharges. Crowd control will be an issue in the city, and Gascon encouraged revelers to use public transit to get around.

San Francisco Municipal Railway service will be free from 8 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Saturday, with extra service provided on certain lines. Information on Muni's New Year's Eve service is available at www.sfmta.com.

BART will extend its service until 3 a.m. Saturday, although trains will skip some downtown San Francisco stations to prevent overcrowding.

The Pittsburg/Bay Point and Richmond lines will stop at the Montgomery station but not the Embarcadero station, while the Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont lines will stop at the Embarcadero station but not Montgomery.

Trains coming into San Francisco from the East Bay will stop at all stations, according to BART officials.

BART police Chief Kenton Rainey said the agency will have "a large contingency (of officers) on both sides of the Bay" and will have "zero tolerance" for law-breaking behavior on trains.

Caltrain will operate on a regular weekday schedule, and is adding four post-event trains that will take passengers down the Peninsula after the fireworks show. Those trains will leave the San Francisco Caltrain station at 12:45 a.m., 1 a.m., 1:45 a.m. and 2:15 a.m.

There is a chance of rain on New Year's Eve, which Gascon said could affect the size of crowds at the fireworks show and other open-air venues.

"But we have a hardy population and I'm sure people will still be coming out, and we want them to have a good time," he said.

Bay City News has contributed to this report


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