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Monday, February 16, 2009

Tour of California - Closing roads TOO EARLY?

It's a wet day on my commute this morning from my home in the Outer Richmond district to SF State University. Although it is a major holiday for the governments, it is not for this university (it's a long story).

So I left my home at about 7:45AM and I always take my normal route that goes along the Great Highway (via Pt. Lobos (Cliff House)) and the police and DPT shut down the road for the "Tour of California" bike race. See my 'normal' route below:

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If you have been watching the morning news or reading the Chronicle, everyone knows that the bike race won't even enter the city limits by 8:45AM, which asks the question, why did the city shut down so early?

I called San Francisco "311" and asked. The guy on the phone said that based on their permits, the bike race folks requested a shut-down at 7AM. REALLY? 7AM? What is the purpose of shutting down a major North/South thoroughfare at that early in the morning? The 311 staff member REFUSED to note down my comments/complaints of the early shut-down.

Where is the common sense of both the event organizers and the city for closing the road that early in the morning? They knew that the bike riders won't even leave Sausalito until 8:30AM, so why spend 90 minutes shutting down a major corridor?

People like me still have to commute to work and we are forced to take a completely different route, which involves driving through flooded sections of Golden Gate Park and taking Sunset Blvd. See the route I took below:

View Larger Map

And just to show just how ticked-off I am this morning, here's a statement from the Department of Parking and Traffic:

The Tour will be in San Francisco beginning at approximately 8:40 AM and be at Hwy 35 by 9:15 AM.

The route will take riders off of the Golden Gate Bridge onto Lincoln Boulevard to El Camino del Mar into Lincoln Park onto Legion of Honor of Drive and leaving the Park onto Clement to Seal Rock Drive and out to Pt. Lobos Avenue and The Great Hwy.

Between 8:30 AM and 9:15 AM, traffic will be detoured or delayed in the area as the bicycle riders and associated vehicles pass by. Local access will be allowed for residents in the area with some delays expected.

WAIT A SECOND. The city just clearly said in writing, 8:30AM is the closure of roads and the use of detours. SO WHY DID THEY SHUT DOWN AT 7AM? Why did they mess-up my commute? The city gets another frowny face sticker.

I wonder how many people of Daly City and Pacifica at Highway 35 (Skyline Blvd.) got their commute screwed-up as well when the race won't even enter their area for a while.


Erik said...

They may not have known the exact schedule when they applied for the road-closing permit, so they overestimated the window on purpose. Or they left some breathing room on the off chance that the city employees on the road-closing crew could be running a little behind schedule early on a Monday morning.

Also, whoever wrote the DPT statement was probably someone in the PR department looking at the race website for the times, not someone with easy access to the actual permit.

murphstahoe said...

Commute? Dude, it was President's Day.

Regardless, as someone who has worked races, they need to close the roads down early because they need to get the tow trucks out there to tow away the cars that ignored the NO PARKING signs before the race gets there. If everyone behaved, it would be easier, but they don't. I remember seeing 100's of cars being towed at exactly 2 AM from all through the Marina when the SF Grand Prix was in town.

Though clearly the city screwed up the PR.