Wharf FAQ's and Stats

Fisherman's Wharf Statistics:

  • 10 million visitors annually to Fisherman's Wharf
  • No. 8 tourist attraction in the U.S.
  • $12-$15 Estimated cost of redesigning Jefferson Street.
  • 10 or 15 mph suggested speed limit
  • 100,000 people who walk between PIER 39 and Pier 35 on busy days
  • 60,000 people who walk around Fisherman's Wharf on busy days
  • 3,259 hotel rooms in the area
  • 1 : 7 ratio of vehicles to pedestrians in area at any time
  • 1,000 (out of 7,000 total) off-street parking spaces in the area remain vacant, even during peak times

General Questions:

Q - What are the main objectives of the project / major changes to be made?

To create a wharf that is safe, fun, and encourages visitors and locals to stay and enjoy the great restaurants, shops and rich vibrant history and one that responds to the needs of those visitors.  The makeover will turn the wharf into one of the world's most beautiful ports and a destination not only for tourists but San Franciscans by creating a five-block esplanade with decorative streets, outdoor cafes and sweeping views of the bay.  The traffic will be change from one way to two way as to be more pedestrian and bike friendly.   Sidewalks along Jefferson Street will be widened, new signs will direct motorists to available parking and cars will be allowed but at low speeds, views will be improved by widening the area overlooking the harbor next to Jefferson Street.

Q - How long will this take?

The first phase (Hyde to Jones Street) took approximately 6 months to complete. (January - June).  Phase Two will take approximately the same amount of time.  

Q - Will merchants and visitors pay anything for these improvements?



Q – Will tour buses and trolleys continue to be allowed on Jefferson Street past Jones / and how will tour bus circulation be managed?

A – The current loading zones on Leavenworth will remain and tour buses will be required to make a left hand turn on Leavenworth or Hyde. Each bus will only be allowed to go down one block of Jefferson Street between Jones and Hyde. This was decided upon a verbal agreement with Craig Vandermause, Executive Director of the SF Tour Bus Association. Legislation of this agreement might be difficult and any signage to do so is not preferable (to keep in line with the open streets concept). The street width is 24 feet which allows for 2 cars and one bus at any given time.


A – Bicycles will be allowed on Jefferson Street past Jones. The bicycles do slow traffic down but that is to the advantage of the street which has been designed to be a slow speed area so people spend more time and are able to enjoy a less hectic and easier pace which encourages pedestrians and non motor vehicles. Motor vehicles will be notified by special signage of parking availability so as to be deterred from continuing down Jefferson Street in an effort to find parking.

Q – Will there be any non-unplanned emergency street shutdowns after construction?

A – Only for festivals and other special events that have permission. Advance notice will be provided by the City or the CBD if it is an event they are producing.  

Q – Jefferson will become a two-way street, but will Hyde, Leavenworth and Jones change?

A – Hyde will become a two-way street, while Leavenworth and Jones will remain as two-way streets.

Q – Will public transit lines change / be affected?

A – Not as of now, although there is a possibility of rerouting MUNI up Jones as opposed to going all the way down to Hyde and Jones may eventually become a one-way street.


Q - What kinds of considerations have been made for the potential traffic challenges of changing Jefferson from a one-way to a two-way street?

A – There will be traffic control officers on the weekends June through August who will monitor the traffic and if needed, direct traffic to make a right or left turn onto Powell Street from Jefferson Street and the Embarcadero respectively so Jefferson Street specifically does not get flooded. Currently the DPW is using very sophisticated Syncrom traffic mapping technology (used all over the city) to figure out the best options for the area.

Q – How will intersections, stop lights and signs be effected by the plan; specifically it is very difficult to turn onto Leavenworth because of constant flow of people with no formalized control over them at the intersection?

A – Everything will stay the same as it is now. A stop light or sign will be considered at the intersection of Jefferson and Leavenworth, which will be monitored closely, if deemed necessary but less infrastructure is desired for the plan. Parking signage, bigger sidewalks, and two-lane streets have all been designed to help reduce traffic flow.


Q – Will there be cars allowed in front of the swim club?

A – Yes, cars will be allowed in front of the swim club.


Q – Are all the trees on the south side of the street being cut down?

A – Although the final design called for the removal of all trees on the south side of Jefferson Street between Hyde and Jones Street, the design was revisited in August of 2012 and only 3 trees in front of the Argonaut will be removed (due to ADA requirements) All other trees will remain although any trees that deemed unhealthy will be replaced.  



Q – Why are there no Café specific zones designated for the South side of Jefferson Street, as they are for the North side of Jefferson Street?

A – Because there is a fifteen-foot complimentary sidewalk on South side that will allow for extra outdoor seating, so there is no need to create café specific zones there.

Q – How will the lighting be for the new plan?

A – New pedestrian scale lighting will be installed along the entire sidewalk on both sides of the street parallel to one another across the street.  Trees will be removed. 

Q – What about bike racks?

A – There will be new and more attractive U-shaped bike racks installed near the light fixtures.

Q – How will the new sidewalks look / vary depending on the street and location and how will this effect business and pedestrians?

A – There are varying heights on the sidewalks requiring stairs and barriers but will be built so that they can be sat on and enjoyed as opposed to being eyesores and a nuisance. The design is comfortable and attractive while meeting functional and form requirements. The barriers and gradients will not block access and should not have a negative effect on businesses, instead they should be thought of mostly as a nice new face to the existing ramps existing only where the buildings sit higher than the sidewalks (does not exist from Leavenworth to Hyde).