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Friday, August 22, 2008

Outside Lands Festival - No Park Street Closure Information

It is starting to become a tradition here in San Francisco that whenever there's a major festival and this is their first one, they never notify the residents affected by the event about street closures.

Well here comes the new Outside Lands festival (concert) event that is consuming a huge part of Golden Gate Park. So this billionaire thinks of this great idea and gets the necessary permits to do it, I say, well a good idea there.

Then the residents don't get told about how this will hurt them. For this event, people who live in the Sunset, Richmond, and Panhandle areas will be greatly affected, especially if you take the bus or drive.

The festival's website DOES NOT have any information about street closures in the park. I noticed one sign saying that Chain of Lakes will be closed, but I noticed that when I was driving home last week Friday.

I checked the SFMTA's website about closures, and there is barely any information.

I checked the 511 website about closures, and they just tell you to expect heavy traffic and take the bus.

Then there's the folks at 311. The first time, I get this guy who immediately says that he will transfer me to the 511 call center. Well the 511 automated system does not have any information at all. Then I call back and speak to another person and ask the same question, and she puts me on hold for ten minutes, and says there are "no street closures." I asked her what her source of information is, and she says it's from the SFMTA website. Yeah, that's very accurate when I know that at least one park road is closed and one park street entrance is shut down.

And just to insult the folks at 311... here's a comment left on SFgate's comment section about their promotion of the concert:
"Getting around the park to get out of the Sunset and to work was hell this morning. The concert organizers didn't even bother to notify the locals of street closures in advance. They could've suggested an alternate route. I've not experienced this kind of GGP take-over before, not even with those free concerts. Who do these people think they are? Oh, and the city quickly patched up some potholes on Fulton to make the ride a bit smoother. The rest of the year, they don't care about the Outside Lands..."

I did not want to do this, but now I'm waiting for a reply back from Supervisor McGoldrick's office because at least they have more power than the average citizen to get the information what we all need. It always seems that when 311, SFMTA, SFPD, and other local agencies can't get their information straight, McGoldrick's office is always on top of it getting the most accurate information for the folks (like me) in the Richmond.

This blog will be updated with closures as soon as possible.

UPDATE 6:23PM: Did not receive any e-mail from McGoldrick's office. Looks like we are going in this event blind people.

UPDATE 7:09PM: Why don't we grind our axes? Here's some more quotes from local residents from my favorite place, SFist:

RationalGal says:
"The chainlink fences went up around the event perimeters early this week, and cars were already being denied access into the park at 41st and 25th Avenues on the Sunset side at 10:00 a.m. this morning. Private enterprise in public places?..."

Shibi's comment about Muni being a much worse hellhole (than it already is):
"I'm home now and I've washed the funk off, guzzled some wine and I've pretty much recovered, but at 4pm all of the Market/Haight Street buses were ALREADY packed hell-rides."

Also to add, it is not just first-time festivals, but also first-time marathons. I had an ax to grind with the first Nike marathon when my neighborhood turned into a virtual prison with the marathon route going on the west side (Great Highway), north side (covering Pt. Lobos and other streets), east side (27th avenue) and south side (the entire Golden Gate Park). It got so bad that I lodged a complaint at Supervisor McGoldrick's office and he called a HEARING AT CITY HALL and I spoke out arguing that it was not just the event organizers, but the city as well for not having consistent information to all their agencies. When I called the Richmond SFPD station about the marathon, it resulted in an "I don't know" answer. I wonder, if there is a serious incident and the cops need to get through a marathon, and have a lack of knowledge about what's going on, they'll be very late in saving my butt. I remember talking to a police officer on the phone and said that lack of information is total bullshit (yes, I said "bullshit"), he totally agreed with me.

Lastly, kudos to Curbed SF and Eye on Blogs (KPIX/CBS 5) for spreading the news.

UPDATE: 7:24PM: Yep, the complaints keeps coming in.

Howardwasright on SFgate says:
"Just walked the dog through the park and was astounded to see the entire west end of the park closed to traffic...except VIP pass holders who can park inside the park. Add to that the fact that the park is gonna be TRASHED--literally and figuratively. Already the roads in and out of the park are covered with garbage. Yuk. And you think there was pee-pee after the marathon??"


Anonymous said...

It's 8:18pm at 31st & Lincoln. People are still driving around looking for parking and wandering past from the N Judah. Most of them aren't dressed warm enough and don't have blankets or extra jackets. Someone just parked across the street about 10 inches in the driveway. Got out, decided to chance it and ran off into the park. Lincoln Way is a disaster - traffic and people acting like idiots.
Glad I didn't pay for the friggin' concert cuz I can hear it loud and clear. Note to sound man - way too much bass! Called 311 to mention that it was extremely loud, they just sad too bad. I'm sure the old Chinese couple next door who listen to opera in Chinese are really digging this.

Akit said...

Are you serious? Did 311 really say "too bad."

311 is a bunch of bullshit. The operators are a bunch of morons with a high school diploma.

Anonymous said...

I found the following on the 311 website in the knowledge base page under events. It brings up a calendar that I think should be on the sfgov front page.
"Outside Lands has a community hotline to respond to any issues that might affect the community during the festival which will be available 11 am to 11 pm on festival days (415) 387-1935."
This contact information is not on the Outsidelands page.

Rob Anderson said...

Why does the city allow these large events in Golden Gate Park? Why not make them use At&T Park when the Giants are on a road trip? We have to put a stop to those who apparently think SF is just a big playground. People live here and shouldn't have to put up with having their neighborhoods shut down and/or trashed by thousands of people from out of town. At least Heilman's festival is held during daylight hours, but even it is getting too big.

Anonymous said...

We just got done producing the Renaissance Faire the weekend before, and I know our permits are awash with language letting us know what happens if leave any litter behind after we leave the park. If we block any of the pathways or roadways. etc. I wonder if these folks are going to be held to the same level of having to leave it all the way that they first found it.

Since it's a lot of locals reading this thread at the moment, I figured I'd take the opportunity to ask if anyone had ever had any problems/issues with the RenFaire (this was our fifth year out there), so if there are any that we can try to improve things in the years to come.

Bill (bill@stamaria.com)

Peter said...
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