Muni Connects Communities for Lunar New Year

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Friday, February 16, 2024

Parade-goers carry a Chinese dragon down a San Francisco streetPeople celebrating the San Francisco Lunar New Year Parade on Feb. 23, 2019

Happy Year of the Dragon!  

Lunar New Year celebrations kicked off last weekend and continue throughout the month. To welcome the Year of the Dragon, we’re excited to share a few ways you can reach events for free! And, we’ll highlight how we’re connecting neighborhoods to Chinatown year-round.  

Free Muni on Feb. 24 for the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade 

Thanks to funding from the Board of Supervisors, you can take Muni for free to the big parade, cable cars not included. Bus reroutes and extra service on the 8 Bayshore, 12 Folsom/Pacific, 30 Stockton and T Third Street lines will begin at 2 p.m. The Community Youth Center of San Francisco will provide ambassadors to assist Muni riders. 

Free parking all of February at Portsmouth Square Garage – first two hours daily  

The funding from the Board of Supervisors will also make it easier to drive to Lunar New Year events. Every day in February, you can park for two hours for free at Portsmouth Square Garage. This nonprofit garage has supported the Chinatown community since 1962 and has seen a 50% increase in daily parkers since last year. 

Supporting safe travel and celebrations on Feb. 24 

To ensure the safety of San Francisco’s AAPI community and everyone who attends the festivities, we are increasing staff on transit lines through Chinatown and adding extra ambassadors, safety and security support at the Powell Street, Union Square/Market Street, Rose Pak-Chinatown, Yerba Buena/Moscone, Montgomery and Embarcadero stations. 

Meanwhile, getting to and from Chinatown is smoother than ever thanks to the Central Subway.  

More than 1.2 million people have used the Chinatown-Rose Pak Station since it opened in January 2023.  

We see the joy of multigenerational families who use the station every day: mothers with toddlers, babies in strollers and grandparents with their grandchildren. One of our station agents, Longjie Cai, was especially moved by a recent conversation with an elderly woman she sees frequently:  

“She shared that, for the last decade, she had never ventured outside of Chinatown because she would experience motion sickness and nausea every time she stayed on a bus or in a car for just a few minutes," said Cai. "She faced no such problem when taking the train. Now, Chinatown Station has opened a new door for her, allowing her to catch the T- train and visit her family and friends who reside in Visitacion Valley.” 

This Lunar New Year, the Central Subway will make travel to Chinatown easier for everyone – no matter where you start your trip. The subway links Chinatown to Union Square, South of Market and all of the neighborhoods on the southeast side of San Francisco. It also provides connections to BART at Powell Street and Caltrain at 4th Street. That means more of the city and the entire Bay Area can travel to Chinatown to shop, dine and enjoy the neighborhood culture.  

And Central Subway’s Chinatown-Rose Pak is more than subway station. It’s a gathering space and community hub. We partner with the Community Youth Center of San Francisco (CYC) to provide regular ambassador service. These ambassadors help riders get to their destinations and provide information about attractions visitors to the city might appreciate. The CYC also has lined up Lunar New Year activities at Chinatown-Rose Pak Station throughout February and March. They include a Chinatown Lunar New Year Carnival, a library book giveaway and workshops on natural disaster preparedness.  

Whether you’re enjoying a free trip on Muni to the parade, free parking at Portsmouth Square or a smoother ride to Chinatown, we hope this new year brings you good health, prosperity and happiness.