San Francisco police and park rangers will be out in force on Wednesday for the annual 4/20 celebration, which despite its unofficial and unsanctioned status brings thousands of people and heavy clouds of marijuana smoke each year to Golden Gate Park.
Speaking today at San Francisco’s Park Station, police warned that uniformed and plainclothes officers will be increased in the park and in surrounding neighborhoods, as will park rangers and juvenile probation officers.
In addition, a number of streets around the park will be closed and traffic and parking control officers will be actively ticketing and towing vehicles illegally parked in residential and commercial areas. Authorities will also be cracking down on any unpermitted booths and concessions in the park and in surrounding neighborhoods.
This will be the third year city officials have put together a plan to handle anticipated 4/20 crowds, after past events led to heavy traffic, damage to public and private property and strains on police, Municipal Railway and park resources, Board of Supervisors president London Breed said today.
Breed, whose district includes parts of the park and surrounding neighborhoods, said the plan is meant to ensure a safe, peaceful event for both residents and visitors. She noted that because there is no sponsor for 4/20 events, there is no fiscal organizer who can be held financially accountable.
“Our goal is to ensure public safety, and as such, there will be no tolerance for visitors who are using ‘4/20’ as an excuse to damage our parks and neighborhoods,” Breed said.
Recreation and Park Department staff have picked up more than 10,000 pounds of litter from the park in other years, Breed said.
This year, the city plans to install temporary portable restrooms on Waller and Stanyan streets and put additional garbage, recycling and compost receptacles out in the park.
Rec and Park staff and volunteers will sweep for litter in the late afternoon and again the following morning, and community organizations including Taking it to the Streets have also volunteered to help clean up on Thursday.
Streets to be affected by closures include Haight, Page and Waller streets between Masonic and Stanyan streets; Stanyan between Frederick and Oak streets; Shrader Street between Beulah and Waller streets; Oak and Waller streets at Ashbury, Clayton, Shrader, Cole and Belvedere streets; Frederick at Shrader and Beulah at Shrader and Cole. Additional street closures may occur if police determine they are necessary for public safety.
Muni lines will also be affected starting around 3 p.m., including the N-Judah, NX-N Express, 6-Parnassus, 7-Haight/Noriega, 7R-Haight/Noriega Rapid, 33-Ashbury/18th, 37-Corbett and 43-Masonic.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News