Welcome the world but shut down the cable cars?

From November 13-19, leaders of numerous nations will gather in San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference. These include many heads of state, including President Biden, China’s President Xi, and others. The US Secret Service is in charge of security, and they have demanded that a portion of Nob Hill around the Fairmont Hotel be sealed off tight as a drum, along with the area around Moscone Center.

Welcome the world but shut down the cable cars?
The only sections of the cable car system open during APEC will be the parts on Hyde and Mason Streets, but not Powell Street or California Street.

According to SFMTA, this means Powell Street and California Street will have NO cable car service that week, just when the City will be flooded with journalists from organizations around the world, whose impressions of the City will be conveyed to hundreds of millions of readers (and prospective visitors).

To be clear, this was not SFMTA’s idea. We’re told both the transit agency and Mayor Breed wanted all cable car service to continue. but the Secret Service has the last word and their security perimeter boundaries trumped the desire to have our civic symbols on proud display in the areas where dignitaries and journalists would see them.

Cable cars WILL run on the outer ends of the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines, turning around at Chinatown. There’s no feasible way to run cable cars over just part of the California line, so America’s oldest and largest Chinatown will be stripped of cable car access to the Ferry Building — during an Asia-Pacific summit. Not only that, but because the new Central Subway runs underground past Moscone Center, where the actual conference sessions will take place, only the one-stop section of the subway between Chinatown and Union Square will remain open during APEC, using a shuttle train. Regular T-line trains will divert at Fourth and King Streets and be routed through the Market Street Subway as a combined K-T line for that week.

Further, the Embarcadero section of the F-line will see buses on November 15, with streetcars turning around at the Ferry Loop that day, because of some sort of APEC event.

Here’s Muni’s latest information on APEC transit and traffic impacts.


Comments: 4

  1. It’s a good thing the APEC didn’t happen during the Heritage Days event! That would have been bad to say the least. I see this as an “APEC” failure! Thanks for the update Rick.

  2. So I would have made “a virtue of necessity” and let the two Cable Car lines run around WITHOUT PASSENGERS,
    during the APEC event.
    Instead, I would have seated the gunslingers of Secret Service on the open wooden benches of the cars
    and let them drive up and down the Powell and California, all day long.

    What a treat for the international world press and clever PR 😉 !

    My warmest greetings from Germany,

  3. The city put our beloved streetcars and Cable cars hide them list along with the homeless and the decay on the streets I wonder what the APEC visitors said about our iconic transportation of the past, probably where are they??

    it’s too bad that everything is taking away for the sake of safety, even our iconic cable cars and streetcars they should’ve been on display for all. I’m old school!


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