Thousands of shoppers and tourists descend on Stockton Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown every year before Chinese New Year, and now city officials have a plan to give them and local merchants some room to breathe.

Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu–whose district includes Chinatown–along with the Chinatown community and city agencies today announced a plan to extend the sidewalk along the busy street during the holiday.

The Stockton Street Pilot Project will close the parking lanes on both sides of Stockton Street, which city officials say will allow pedestrians to safely navigate outside of crowded sidewalks and will provide small businesses with space to display merchandise.

“The Chinese tradition calls for people to shop in the stores and purchase items in celebration of the Chinese New Year,” Chinatown Neighborhood Association co-chair Pius Lee said today. “This pilot project is a win for the community.”

The pilot will be in effect from Saturday Jan. 14 to Sunday Jan. 22 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and barricades will line the extended space to indicate where the roadway begins.

San Francisco Municipal Railway bus lines should be unaffected, and parking and traffic will be strictly enforced during the trial, officials said.

A case study completed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency indicated that an estimated 2,000 people walk along the Stockton corridor every hour, on average. During the holiday, that number significantly increases, officials said.

“Chinese New Year is celebrated by thousands, and we want to provide an environment that supports the small business community and improves pedestrian flow along Stockton and connecting streets,” Chiu said.

“We are creating a public space that meets the growing needs of this community and beyond.”

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!