Although making the trip to San Francisco may be a chore this weekend, we'd like to guide you through the labyrinth of detours and alternative modes of transportation to make this Labor Day weekend in the Bay Area as enjoyable as possible.
Even though a major transportation artery into San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, is closed for repairs this weekend, motorists and travelers should not be timid about using their extended weekends to travel to one of the world's most popular cities. Starting today at 8 p.m. through Tuesday at 5 a.m., the Bay Bridge will be closed for repairs.
Sure, there have been better weekends to visit the city, but the weather is going to be what you would expect for September in San Francisco, and there is no shortage of activities on the peninsula. Don't be afraid of having to go out of your way a bit. After all, getting there is half the fun. Here are some tips that will help get you there and back.
Visiting King Tut
If you are an Egyptian history buff or you are just a fan of opulence, The Tutankhamun and Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit is being hosted at the de Young Museum, located in the heart of Golden Gate Park. Although the exhibit will close an hour early on Labor Day, 6:30 p.m., for scheduled maintenance, it will be open all weekend.
If you are planning to drive to the exhibit and you live in Lodi, there are two routes you can take that will steer you clear of Bay Bridge construction and detours.
- Go over the Golden Gate.
Take Highway 12 and head west and turn left at Highway 160. Then follow the signs and continue on Highway 4 before taking the I-80 W exit. Take the Cutting Blvd. exit towards I-580/San Rafael and turn right at Cutting Blvd. Turn left at S. 23rd Street and continue on Marina Bay Pkwy. Merge onto I-580 West.
- Take the San Mateo Bridge.
An alternate route is to take 99 South and merge onto Highway 4. From there, take Highway 4 to I-5 and take exit 458B and merge onto I-205 West toward I-580. Then go to the exit for I-238 North/I-880 and then make your way toward the San Mateo Bridge.
You are there. Enjoy envying the lavish lifestyle of the ineffectual teenage king.
Traveling by BART
Bay Area Rapid Transit will conduct special hourly overnight service to 14 stations Friday through Monday. They will add extra trains as well.
The nearest BART stations are Pittsburg/Bay Point and Dublin/Pleasanton. From Dublin/Pleasanton to the Embarcadero, a one-way ticket costs $5.55. From Pittsburg/Bay Point to the Embarcadero, a one-way ticket costs $5.95. Riders can park at the Dublin/Pleasanton for $1 a day. There is a 24-hour weekday time limit for parking in all BART lots. However, there is extended weekend parking and fees are waived on major holidays, Labor Day being one of them. If you are taking BART into San Francisco and plan to stay all weekend, you can park from the start of train service Friday until 2 a.m. Tuesday. Space is limited, and it costs $5.
Altamont Commuter Express normally operates from Monday through Friday and travels out of Stockton, Tracy and Manteca. It will not operate on Labor Day.
Traveling by bus
Check with Greyhound, located at 24 S. School Street. Their phone number is 369-2150, or go online at www.greyhound.com.
Western Contra Costa Transit Authority, WestCAT, buses will not serve San Francisco today through Tuesday.
Traveling by water
The Golden Gate, Alameda/ Oakland ferries and Vallejo Baylink will have extra service Saturday through Monday.
The Alameda Harbor Bay ferry will make extra trips Friday. On Friday, the ferry will have 24 round-trips instead of its usual seven.
Ferries will depart every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to noon, and from 2:05 to 8:05 p.m.
The Vallejo Baylink ferry and Route 200 buses will run the normal schedule on Friday. A fourth ferry will be on standby in case passenger demands are unusually high for the commute.
Why is the bridge closed, anyway?
A 300-foot-long double-deck section of the East Span will be cut and removed while the bridge is closed this year. Workers will also put in a prefabricated replacement piece as they work 150 feet above the bay. An estimated 280,000 vehicles travel the span daily. Work is scheduled to be finished in 2013.
Will my favorite sporting events be harder to get to?
Fortunately, the San Francisco Giants are playing in Milwaukee this weekend and the 49ers play their final preseason game in San Diego on Friday. The Oakland Athletics are hosting the Seattle Mariners this weekend, and the University of California-Berkeley Bears are home against the Maryland Terrapins, but motorists coming from Lodi are not required to cross the Bay Bridge in order to attend those events at McAfee Coliseum and Memorial Stadium, respectively.
I seem to remember something like this on previous Labor Day weekends
Indeed, this is nothing new. For the third consecutive year, the Bay Bridge will be closed Labor Day weekend. In 2006, the bridge was closed in one direction, while in 2007 both the upper and lower decks were closed. The bridge will close at 8 p.m. today and reopen at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. Friday will be the first time in the Bay Bridge's 73-year history that it is closed on a weekday that isn't a holiday. If you plan to visit the Bay Area, expect delays. Plan your trip accordingly and be patient.
Fun facts about the Bay Bridge
- The bridge opened November 12, 1936, and cost $79.5 million to build. It is the longest high-level steel bridge in the world.
- The deepest pier plunges 242 feet below San Francisco Bay. It contains more concrete than the Empire State Building.
- Construction of the Bay Bridge used more than 6 percent of the United States' total steel production in 1933.
- The Bay Bridge is 8.5 miles long (including bridge and the approaches).
More traffic delays and detours to come for Lodians
We'd be remiss not to remind you that Highway 12 from I-5 to Highway 160 will be closed during the daytime from Sept. 15-17. The road will be impassible from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days.
Additional help planning routes or getting information (or dial 511).
BART,(510) 464-7134 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for more information.