Safety, traffic main concerns in SF on New Year's Eve


December 31, 2012 9:00:38 PM PST
Weather won't be an issue for people planning to celebrate New Year's Eve in San Francisco, but traffic could be.

There will be a change on the Embarcadero this New Year's Eve. Typically, the street is closed to accommodate massive crowds, but San Francisco police said Monday morning they had no plans to shut it down. The metal barricades are in place along the Embarcadero just in case, but police say they won't use them unless the crowd gets crazy.

"The event commanders will evaluate that situation as the night unfolds and if it becomes necessary, then we will make some street closures," Sgt. Michael Andraychak told ABC7 News. "But we want to accommodate traffic as much as possible."

In the meantime, extra officers will be out in force as more than 250,000 are expected to arrive to party and ring in 2013, all under a midnight fireworks display. "A couple of thousand devices that are going to be fired in 15 minutes," said Jeff Thomas with Pyro Spectaculars. "We also have some low-level effects that perform at a lower altitude than the larger stuff and there's probably 1,500 of those as well. So, you're looking at 4,000 or 5,000 devices that'll go off in 15 minutes."

The display will go off on a barge which will be out on the bay and as people watch, police are reminding them to be safe. "Enjoy the fireworks show, but there's no drinking in public. There's no open containers of alcohol allowed. We really recommend that you travel together in pairs, use the buddy system and look out for eachother," Andraychak said.

Officers are also asking those headed to San Francisco Monday night to not drive and take public transit instead. "There's going to be a lot of people so please, take public transit. BART's running extra trains that're running late. Caltrain's running late. Muni is offering free rides. Take public transit. Get there early because it will be crowded," Andraychak said.

BART says it is bringing in 100 extra people to help revelers get where they need to go safely. Most public transportation will be free on New Year's Eve.