How intense APEC Summit security will impact SF roads, public transportation, and tourism

BySuzanne Phan, Ryan Curry KGO logo
Friday, October 20, 2023
How officials say SF will be impacted by intense APEC Summit security
Officials say to expect a lot of security, road closures, and transit rerouting all over San Francisco from November 15-18 for the APEC Summit.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco will soon host world leaders and hundreds of CEOs for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. With that many important people in one place, security is going to be ultra-tight.

San Francisco, known for its iconic sights and sounds, is about to host what some consider to be the "Super Bowl of World Economies" from Nov. 15-18.

Dozens of bus shelters across the city have spelled it out - "APEC is going to be epic."

Expect 21 world leaders from the Pacific Rim regions, including President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and possibly Chinese President Xi Jinxing.

"The San Francisco Police Department is thrilled to welcome visitors from around the world for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference," said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott. "This will be an opportunity to showcase our beautiful city on a global scale. We are committed to ensuring the safety of everyone in our city during the event and we are using every resource available to protect our city."

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What SF will look like during APEC

Expect a lot of security all over San Francisco.

"There will be an extraordinary amount of law enforcement, military, and public safety personnel in San Francisco for this event well above what anyone has seen before," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeremy Brown with the U.S. Secret Service.

Along the outer perimeter, SF police will be supported by about 1,000 CHP officers.

In the inner "higher security zone" at Moscone Center and Yerba Buena Gardens, the Secret Service will secure the area with a 14-foot unscalable fence.

This higher security zone will be limited to people with credentials.

"The major closures around Moscone will be from 2nd Street to 5th Street. Those streets will be open. But beyond those points, the streets will be closed inside that boundary. And then from Market Street to Harrison Street. Again, both those streets will be open, but anything beyond that boundary will be closed for traffic," said Brown.

Expect a number of impacts on roads and public transportation in the downtown area around the Moscone Center, the San Francisco Waterfront area, and the Nob Hill neighborhood.

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The Secret Service is talking to local transit leaders about the temporary closure of the Central Subway that runs underneath the security zone.

"For security reasons, the Yerba Buena Station and 4th and Brannan Stations of the Central Subway will need to be closed for the duration of the event. We're grateful however that we will be able to reroute trains," said SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin. "So the T- 3rd trains, instead of going into the Central Subway will simply follow their old route into the Market Street subway. And very importantly, be able to run high frequency shuttle trains between Union Square, Market Street Station, and Chinatown."

The Powell Street BART Station will likely remain open throughout the summit.

Bus routes will be rerouted to the outer edge of the zone.

Maps of closures and impacted roads are now posted online at You can also sign up for alerts and updates.

APEC security could limit Chinatown tourism

San Francisco Chinatown leaders are concerned the new security measures for APEC could limit tourism to the neighborhood.

San Francisco Chinatown leaders are concerned the new security measures for APEC, including numerous road closures and transit adjustments, could limit tourism in the area.

The Central Subway line SFMTA plans on closing runs right into Chinatown. Tumlin says there will be alternate routes available leading into Chinatown, but leaders in that community say this move caught them by surprise.

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"I think we are a little disappointed frankly with the lack of thought around how to connect Chinatown to the heart of the activities," said Malcolm Yeung, Executive Director with the Chinatown Community Development Center. "We are throwing a party in Chinatown, but we need people to come. and the way people come is by working with the city and SFMTA to get them there."

Given how this is a conference focused on Asian and Pacific rim economic connections, Chinatown leaders were hoping this would be the biggest tourism boost since the pandemic.

"There was a lot of hope that APEC was going to be that thing that just kind of got us going again," Yeung said. "I still think it can be that thing, but we have to come together as a city to make that happen."

Officials ask for patience

City leaders say they are working to keep everyone informed and are asking people to be patient.

"Many areas of our city will be impacted by street closures, detours, buses being rerouted, public transportation being rerouted, and dignitary escorts. It's going to take all of our patience to get through this week," said SFPD Chief Bill Scott.

Residences and businesses inside the affected areas will generally be accessible. Drivers requiring access to residential and business parking lots and pedestrians visiting businesses or attending events within the closure area must enter at marked locations, show identification, and will be subject to search by law enforcement personnel.

The public should also expect parking restrictions. All vehicles parked in violation of the emergency no parking signs will be ticketed and towed. Restrictions will begin on Tuesday, November 14, at 10 p.m., and extend through Saturday evening, November 18.

A comprehensive traffic plan and map, including street closures and parking restrictions, will be available at WWWSFMTA/APEC.

The last time APEC was held in the United States was back in 2011 in Honolulu.

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