APEC conference next week to bring Biden, Xi, closed roads, traffic

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference beginning Sunday in San Francisco is expected to roll out the red carpet for dignitaries — and result in roadway closures, snarled traffic and security checkpoints for residents, workers and visitors.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week — which is expected to draw President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping and to be the largest gathering of world leaders in San Francisco since the signing of the UN Charter in 1945 — a “National Special Security Event” requiring heightened protective measures in and around San Francisco.

“The goal of the Secret Service and our law enforcement and public safety partners is to provide a secure environment while minimizing impact and inconveniences to residents and businesses,” U.S. Secret Service special agent Jeremy Brown said.

Here’s what you need to know:

The gathering, with an associated summit for major corporate CEOs, runs from Nov. 11-17, and roadway and travel restrictions vary by day. San Francisco has posted a map with details.

Road closures 

On the Bay Bridge, Caltrans will close the left lane eastbound out of San Francisco and the right lane westbound into the city from 5 a.m. Tuesday through 9 p.m. Friday. No transit bus impacts are expected, Caltrans said. The Treasure Island on and off ramps, and the Fremont Street off ramp, will stay open. There will be controlled access to the Bay Bridge pedestrian and bike path.

Caltrans will shut down the 4th Street off ramp from eastbound 1-80 in San Francisco, and the 5th Street off ramp from westbound I-80 in the city, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily Wednesday through Friday.

The agency will also close the off ramp from U.S. 101 northbound to Dana Bowers Vista Point, which overlooks Alcatraz and San Francisco at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, from Tuesday through Saturday, with no access to the vista point for vehicles, bikes or pedestrians.

Golden Gate Bridge access 

The Golden Gate Bridge pedestrian path will be closed at the north end of the bridge Tuesday through Saturday, so there will be no pedestrian access to the bridge from Marin County. The bike path on the west side of the bridge will remain open during that period between Marin and San Francisco.

Public transportation 

BART and Caltrain schedules will not be disrupted by the event. BART said it would add train cars “in anticipation of higher ridership due to Bay Bridge lane closures.”

The San Francisco Bay Ferry said it did not expect any major effects from APEC, and its schedules would not change.

Transit services in San Francisco will also be disrupted, with some routes changed or curtailed starting Monday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority said.

Cable car service, the agency said, will be “significantly impacted” from Tuesday through Sunday. The California cable car line will be suspended, temporarily replaced by a bus. The Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason cable car lines will not travel south of Washington Street on Powell Street. A bus will replace service to stops along Powell Street from Jackson to Ellis streets. The agency urged people wishing to ride a cable car to board at the Cable Car Museum at 1201 Mason Street for a trip toward Fisherman’s Wharf.

Getting around downtown

Travel by vehicle, transit, foot and bike around downtown San Francisco will be severely limited, particularly in the Nob Hill and South of Market neighborhoods, and city officials warn that the conference will affect movement throughout the city.

The Secret Service has designated “security zones” to be closed to private vehicles and through-travel on transit, according to the city of San Francisco. “You can enter these zones if you need to access your home, workplace, or shops,” the city said in an advisory. “To do so, you will go through a bag check.”

The South of Market security zone will be in place Nov. 13-19, from Market to Harrison streets and 2nd to 5th streets. The Nob Hill security zone will be in effect for the same period, from Clay to Pine streets and Taylor to Stockton streets. A closure may take place on The Embarcadero on Nov. 15.

A more restricted security zone will be in place Nov. 16 outside downtown in Lincoln Park, with Clement Street between 34th and 38th avenues closed to vehicle traffic. Only people living or working inside the zone, or attending APEC can enter, and will undergo security screening.

The city of San Francisco added an open-ended warning: “Other events might come up with little notice and require security zones.”

What else to know 

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