San Francisco

Safety, Terror Concerns Prompt Closure of Northbound Golden Gate Bridge During San Francisco Marathon

The Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors voted unanimously Friday to shut down all northbound lanes of the iconic bridge to traffic during next month's San Francisco Marathon.

Concerned for roughly 15,000 marathoners from around the world, all northbound cars will have to find alternate routes between 6 and 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 23. This move has the potential to affect about 4,500 drivers who have driven past runners in past years.

The move aims to bolster safety during the annual event and address terrorism concerns, especially in light of recent attacks in which terrorists have used vehicles in France and the United Kingdom to mow down pedestrians.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Marathon, which is a qualifier for people seeking to participate in the Boston Marathon. 

"In the past, the only thing separating runners from northbound traffic were construction cones," a staff report said. "The decision to allow events to take place on the Bridge roadway always has been of concern. Each year during the permit process, safety concerns such as impaired and/or distracted drivers are contemplated, discussed and debated.

"Unfortunately, today, those discussions and that debate also must include consideration of the recent tragedies brought on by those intentionally driving vehicles into crowds of pedestrians at notable locations, particularly in areas where there are large concentrations of people."

The board plans to limit southbound traffic to two lanes, which will be separated from the runners by a moveable barrier. Road closures are expected at northbound Presidio Parkway at the southbound 19th Avenue exit and at northbound 19th Avenue at southbound Presidio Parkway.

Closing the northbound lanes will not affect drivers heading to the San Francisco International Airport, the staff report said.

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