By Joey Cain, HANC Board
The annual celebration of pot known as "420" Day held on April 20th came to the Haight Ashbury again this year. Both the City of SF and the Rec and Parks Department were much better prepared than in previous years to handle the tens of thousands of participants who flooded into the neighborhood for it. In fact, some might say there was a bit of overkill in the street closures that were in effect.
Street closure overkill?
Haight Street from Masonic to Stanyan was closed from about 10 a.m. to around 7 p.m. and both Waller and Page Streets were shut down as well, something that does not even happen for the Haight Street Fair which draws many more folks than the 420 celebration. Stanyan Street from Page to Frederick Streets was also closed all day long. It was definitely not a day to be coming to the Haight in a car!
As the crowds started to leave what is the holy ground and high point for the event attendees, 4:20 pm on Hippy Hill in Golden Gate Park, Muni seems to have had added many more buses to move folks out of the neighborhood. There were at least 12 Muni staff people working all day long at Masonic and Haight and a sizable contingent working the N Judah stop at Parnassus and Cole as well. Coming to the event by Muni proved challenging. I rode an N Judah from Fourth and Townsend about 2 pm that day and by the time we reached Powell Street it was packed and no one could get on for the rest of the trip until it reached the Cole Street stop. The next run was scheduled 13 minutes later. I have been told the surface buses were no better.