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Friday, May 17, 2013

Here's Your Bay to Breakers Traffic Advice

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2013 at 1:55 PM

click to enlarge Why is Gumby the only normal looking one there?
  • Why is Gumby the only normal looking one there?

It's that time of year again to put on your finest foppery (ass-less chaps, tutus and chicken masks) and swill cheap beer in the streets. All the things that make for a great footrace in San Francisco.

For those of you who aren't into costumes, morning imbibing, or running -- period -- well it's that time of the year for you to head for the proverbial hills to steer clear of the masses (30,000 people to be exact) who will be congregating in the city for the annual Bay to Breakers race come Sunday.

To be blunt: getting around town that day is going to be a complete shitshow, but luckily you have us to help you navigate the crowds so you can get to your destination.

First off, if you didn't think parking in San Francisco could get any harder: The race starts at 7 a.m. at 300 Howard St. where there will be absolutely no street parking. Same goes for the finish line at the Great Highway. So leave your cars parked at home. There are other options.


For all of you actually running drinking at the race (you know who you are) all BART stations will open at 5 a.m., running every 20 minutes, which means you will have plenty of time to get your costume out there and stretch or shotguns beers, or whatever it is that you do.

Although Embarcadero is actually closer to the starting point, those of you who are already in San Francisco or coming from the Peninsula please hop off the train at the Montgomery Station and walk -- it will really help to spread the crowd around town.

BART is also reminding you that sweat-soaked (or sangria-soaked) tickets won't get you through the fare gates so try and keep your transit cards dry, even if you aren't.

Despite the anything-goes attitude that runs the race, that attitude doesn't apply to BART, which requires that you wear shoes while riding the trains. Also, you have to hide your nipples, perineums and your private parts. No drinking allowed -- water, coffee or alcohol included.


Gird your wallets because you are going to have to shell out more this year to ride the bus or train during Bay to Breakers. Here's the breakdown on fares:

  • $12 for adults $10 for senior, youth or disabled and $8 for add-on to a valid Muni adult, senior, youth or disabled pass, Clipper only.

  • $12 and $10 fares paid with Clipper Cards will receive a round trip on the express buses and a regular 90-minute transfer.

  • $8 fares for pass holders must be paid with Clipper Cards and users will receive a round trip on the express bus. Express Pre-Race Muni Service starts at 4:45 and runs to 6:30 a.m.:

Fares are available for cash purchase at pre-race sales locations, from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. at Van Ness Station, Castro Station, and the West Portal Station. Also, you can get them at the post-race sales locations, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fulton @ 30th Avenue

Check out the schedule.


Check out the early-morning departure schedule for race day. Following the fun, there will be three express trains to haul your tuckered ass home, departing S,F. at 1:10 p.m., 2:10 p.m. and 3:10 p.m.

Still need to register for the race or get shuttle service tickets? If procrastination has crept into your weekend plans, it's too late to register online, so you'll have to snatch them up at the Greater Body Expo at the West Hall of the Concourse Exhibition Center (635 8th Street) today or tomorrow.

Also, Park & Ride passes will not be offered on race day.


If sneakers pounding cement and shin splints aren't your thing, you can still join the festivities in a bi-pedal fashion. Be wary of drinking and riding (there are such things as BUIs) and make sure those laces, scarves, and boas don't get caught in your wheels. This bike path (basically) follows the official Breakers route, but it accommodates cyclists only.


If you can't stand the thought of being away from your car even for one morning, then here's the best possible advice we can give you: Without a doubt, every damn bridge (and surrounding street) will be clogged with carousers heading into the city starting in the wee hours of the morning. This annoying traffic will likely continue through the afternoon, and evening.

So the best thing to do is rely on technology to get you through this mess. Check out the INRIX Traffic app (free on all smartass phones) which provides up-to-the-minute traffic information from the swiftest routes based on current conditions as well as recommended departure and travel times. You can even share your anticipated arrival time with your buddies via email or text.

Want to Steer Clear of the Mayhem?

Now if you just don't want to have anything to do with Bay to Breakers -- the people, the costumes, the cops, the traffic, or the alcohol, then check out this map of the course so you know where to avoid.

click to enlarge b2bmaprace.png

As you can see, the entire length of Market Street will be a mess. Although when the race turns onto Fell and heads west, you might find a little less traffic in the Mission, especially near the 24th BART stop.

Obviously, it'd be good to avoid the Panhandle as well as the entire stretch of Golden Gate Park along Kennedy Drive. In fact, you probably shouldn't go to the park at all. Maybe Sunday is a good time for you to try those soup dumplings in Richmond.

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Katie Tandy


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