San Francisco is gearing up to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) from November 11-17, 2023. The event is expected to draw upwards of 20,000 visitors including President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and 19 other heads of state, according to NPR.
APEC will affect San Francisco all week long with heightened security, public transit reroutes, road closures, and restricted zones. Here’s a guide to help you prepare for these changes.
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What is APEC?
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a gathering of global leaders from 21 countries in the Pacific Rim (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam). These countries’ economies represent nearly 40% of the global population and 50% of global trade.
APEC is a forum dedicated to leveraging the interdependence of these Asia-Pacific countries in the realms of trade, investment, and growth. This year the conference is dedicated to the themes of “sustainability, inclusivity, innovation and resilience.” It’s the biggest gathering of world leaders in San Francisco since the Charter of the United Nations was signed in 1945.
The influx of global VIPs, their accompanying entourages, foreign and local press, and other guests is expected to bring over $50M to the city. The APEC website even has resources for summit guests to support small businesses in the conference area and make the most of this economic boost.
Biden and Xi Jinping are set to meet on Wednesday, although most details about the meeting have not been made public.
Thousands of Israel-Hamas war protesters have already inundated the conference zone during APEC’s first weekend, and the area will surely remain busy with protests throughout the week.
Restrictions around APEC
APEC security zones
The Secret Service will implement several security zones for APEC which are shown in green and red on the Public APEC Map. (accessible version here). The zones will be closed to private vehicles and public transit. People can enter security zones to access their home, workplace, and shops, or to make deliveries. But be ready to go through a bag check at one of the checkpoints designated on the map.
Most of the APEC events will center around Moscone Center in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, and there will be a security zone set up around the area from Nov. 13-19. Expect heightened security for both pedestrians and vehicles between 2nd, 5th, Market, and Harrison Streets. The Secret Service will establish additional security measures between Nov. 15-18 when President Biden is in town. (Side note to museum-goers: SFMOMA will sell same-day tickets to the Kusama exhibition during APEC, so you might be able to snag a coveted ticket this week).
The Secret Service is also planning for security zones in Nob Hill around the Fairmont and InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotels between Nov. 13-19, a possible road closure on the Embarcadero around the Exploratorium on Nov. 15, Lincoln Park around the Legion of Honor on Nov. 16, and the Asian Art Museum. Additional security zones may come up in addition to or instead of these.
SF road closures during APEC
SFMTA and CalTrans will implement road closures that will have significant traffic impacts during the week. You can consult SFMTA or the Public APEC Map for a detailed rundown of street closures and reroutes. We’ve found the alt-text version of the map to be a helpful aid. Most closures will take place around the Moscone security zone. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the biggest closures:
- 3rd Street will be closed at Harrison (Nov. 13-19)
- Stockton Street will be closed at Ellis (Nov. 13-19)
- Montgomery Street will be closed at Market (Nov. 13-19)
- Post Street will be closed at Market (Nov. 13-19)
- Mission Street, Howard Street, and Folsom Street will be closed between 2nd and 5th streets (Nov. 13-19)
- 4th Street off-ramp on Eastbound I-80 will be closed (Nov. 15-17)
- 5th Street off-ramp on Westbound I-80 will be closed (Nov. 15-17)
- Bay Bridge left lane on Eastbound I-80 will be closed (Nov. 14-17)
- Bay Bridge right lane on Westbound I-80 will be closed (Nov. 14-17)
SF transit closures during APEC
APEC will also affect transit service throughout San Francisco. Muni reroutes are expected to begin on Nov. 13 and end by Monday, Nov. 20, so passengers should plan to pad their travel time if taking an affected route. See detailed rerouting information by zone here:
The 30 Stockton and 45 Union-Stockton lines will only operate north of Market Street. Passengers traveling south of Market will need to find an alternative such as the temporary KT Ingleside-Third route — more options here.
Cable car service will also be affected between Nov. 14-19. The California line will be temporarily suspended and replaced by a bus substitution; and the Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason lines will be shortened at Washington Street with a bus substitution taking over there.
As for other public transportation, SF Paratransit will experience delays but will be allowed to enter the security zone. Golden Gate Transit routes and schedules will be affected near the Civic Center and Financial District, and ferry lines may be affected. For now, APEC will not affect routes on BART and Caltrain.
Sign up for Muni alerts to keep up with the latest transit and road changes surrounding APEC. You can also call for free telephone assistance in over 100 languages: 3-1-1 if you’re in San Francisco, or 415-701-2311 if you’re outside of San Francisco.