Embarcadero street party hits a snag


At City Hall, supervisors are discussing a resolution that would require a business impact review of the Mayor's plan which would shut down major traffic areas along San Francisco's Embarcadero.

Merchants at Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 met among themselves on Tuesday, and later, with the Mayor's point man. Now, the Board of Supervisors is discussing the six mile closure as well.

It was almost two weeks ago when Mayor Gavin Newsom announced his plan to close six miles of the Embarcadero to cars during two Sunday mornings this summer. The first is on Sunday on Labor Day weekend and the second two weeks later.

The plan is to turn the thoroughfare into one big party for pedestrians.

Under the Mayor's proposal, the Embarcadero will be closed between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. from Portsmouth Square in Chinatown, all the way to the Bayview Opera House on 3rd and Newcomb.

But, merchants at Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 are afraid the planned closure will hurt business during one of their busiest times of the year -- Labor Day weekend. .

"Would you consider closing down Union Square in December when everyone's there to shop and so on and so forth? Well, that's the same thing here," says Bob Macintosh.

Bob Macintosh is president of Pier 39. He says the closure would cut off shoppers from the Peninsula and the Bay Bridge. Macintosh and other merchants want a compromise.

They want the Embarcadero closed only between King Street and 3rd and Newcomb.

That would allow normal Peninsula and Bay Bridge traffic onto the Embarcadero.

Newsom points out that Pier 39 and the Fisherman's Wharf aren't affected, since his planned closure is a mile south of the two tourist areas.

"We're allowing for the same kind of redirection that we allow for every time the San Francisco Giants play baseball. 80 plus times a year, were redirecting traffic on the Embarcadero," says Newsom.

Macintosh and the Mayor's point man on the street closures met this afternoon at Alioto's restaurant, trying to work out a compromise.

In the meantime, the supervisors are expected to vote on a resolution calling for a business impact review of the Mayor's plan, a resolution that's non-binding on the Mayor.

The supervisors have yet to look at the resolution, but are expected to pass it soon. However, it really won't stop the Mayor's plan. The Mayor however can consider his options and may come up with a resolution to make all the parties happy.

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