Weekend Brings Football, Seasonal Celebrations, SMART Train Developments

Starting this Saturday, December 14, the Larkspur Ferry to San Francisco will be collecting many of its passengers from the new Larkspur SMART Train Station, the southernmost station in the SMART system.
Photo credit Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

It’s going to be a football-intensive weekend for Bay Area sports fans, with both a Niners game and a Raiders game taking place on Sunday afternoon. Earlier, on Sunday morning in Downtown San Jose, there will be a whole lot of Santas (and other costumed characters) taking part in the Santa Run Silicon Valley. The Parol Lantern Festival on Saturday in San Francisco brings a traditional Filipino flavor to the holiday season; and for a Victorian style Christmas, there’s the Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace, taking place both days this weekend. Finally, SMART Train opens not one, but two, new stations on Saturday with a modified schedule in place through the end of December (In January the agency will roll out a whole new timetable).


Sun, Dec 15 at 1:25pm: Levi’s Stadium:  The 49ers play the Atlanta Falcons. Expected attendance is 64,000. Parking lots will open at 9:55am; stadium gates will open at 11:25am. Full City of Santa Clara Traffic Advisory is here.

  • Areas and roadways affected: There will be increased traffic on Highways 101 and 237, I-880, the Lawrence and San Tomas Expressways, and Great America Parkway. Traffic impacts will begin to be felt from around 9:45am until game time and then again after the game lets out (guesstimated at around 4:40pm). Tasman Drive will be closed from Convention Center Drive to Centennial / Marie P DeBartolo Way beginning at 1:30am and will remain closed through the game. Parking will also be prohibited on the posted areas of Lick Mill Blvd.

Sun, Dec 15 at 3pm: San Jose: Santa Run Silicon Valley, a 5K Run/Walk through Downtown San Jose that benefits Downtown Ice, Christmas in the Park and Reading Partners (preceded at 2pm by Kids’ Reindeer Dash).  Happens rain or shine. Capped at 5,000 participants.

START: Santa Clara Street at Almaden Boulevard

FINISH: Market Street at Park Avenue – that is, at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, site of Christmas in the Park

Event website: https://www.santarunsv.com/

  • Pro tip: The nearest public transit station is San Jose Diridon, which is about a ten-minute walk to the starting line (or a ten-minute ride via bus lines 181 or 68). Racegoers can also take VTA light rail to the San Jose Convention Center (which is also a ten-minute walk to the starting line). Street parking is free on Sundays, but there will be race-related street closures, so garage parking may work better. 
  • Areas and roadways affected:  Course is: Westbound on the Santa Clara Street (becomes the Alameda), left on Shasta, left on Tillman, left on Hanchett and back to the Alameda; then right on Almaden Blvd, left on San Fernando, and right onto Market Street, finishing at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, site of Christmas in the Park. Course map is here (scroll down).


Sun, Dec 15 at 1:05pm: Oakland Coliseum: Raiders play the Jacksonville Jaguars.

  • Pro tip: Taking BART (or a Capitol Corridor train) to the Coliseum Station is the preferred way to get to most Coliseum events, although taxis and ridesharing would also be easier than driving. If driving is your choice, it pays to shop for parking options ahead of time or have a trusted parking app.
  • Areas and roadways affected:  Motorists can expect extra traffic on Coliseum Way, Hegenberger Road, San Leandro Street, and the 880 freeway ramps in the 66th Avenue area. AC Transit lines 45, 73, and 98 may be subject to detours (full info here).


Sat, Dec 14 and Sun, Dec 15 from 10am-7pm, continuing Saturdays and Sundays thru Dec 22:

Cow Palace: Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party. Visitors can immerse themselves in a world of music halls, theatres, pubs, dance parties, and charming shops and interact with characters “from the imagination of Charles Dickens and the sometimes saucy world of the Victorian stage.”

Website: https://dickensfair.com/

  • Pro tip: Take BART or Muni to the Glen Park BART Station and board the Fair’s free shuttle bus that runs every 30 minutes (at the top and bottom of the hour) from 10am to 7pm each Fair day. Beats paying $12 for parking and then fighting traffic.
  • Areas and roadways affected: Expect extra traffic coming and going from the venue on Geneva Avenue.


Sat, Dec 14 from 4pm-8pm: In San Francisco’s South of Market District: 17th Annual Parol Lantern Festival and Parade takes place (A parol lantern is a home-made lantern that adorns Filipino homes during the holiday season, symbolizing hope, blessings, luck, peace, and light). Festival is held in Yerba Buena Lane, Jessie Square and St. Patrick’s Church. Parade begins at 6pm at Jessie Square (736 Mission Street between 3rd and 4th Streets, next to St. Patrick’s Church), goes out on Yerba Buena Lane, crosses Mission Street into Yerba Buena Gardens, loops around the Esplanade, and heads back to Jessie Square for the (approximately 6:30pm) awards ceremony, live entertainment, Filipino food, etc. Map of parade route is here (scroll down):

Event website: https://www.parollanternfestival.com/

  • Pro tip: Jessie Square is a 5-minute walk from the Powell Street BART/Muni Station or a 7-minute walk from the Powell Street station
  • Areas and roadways affected: Parade will interrupt traffic on Mission Street between 3rd and 4th Streets.


Fri, Dec 13 at 1pm: SMART Train will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new Larkspur Station (which will be the southernmost station in the system) in order to celebrate the beginning of train service to Larkspur (starting the next day, Saturday, December 14). Also on Saturday at 10:30am, there will be a separate ribbon-cutting ceremony at SMART’s other brand new station, “Novato Downtown” (even though, for the time being, there will only be limited weekend service to this new Novato station).

From Sat, Dec 14 thru Tue, Dec 31, SMART will operate with a temporary timetable that includes service to the new Larkspur station and weekend-only service to the Downtown Novato station. 

On January 1, SMART will roll out a NEW timetable featuring expanded service on weekdays, more train trips, and better connections to regional transit services.

An important item for SMART-to-Larkspur-Ferry commuters to be aware of: After Friday, Dec 13, Golden Gate Shuttle Route 31 between the San Rafael Transit Center and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal will cease operating. SMART’s new Larkspur station is about an eight-minute walk from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal and there are no plans to run a shuttle between the two stations, so presumably there will be a good deal of pedestrian traffic.

Source: https://www.sonomamarintrain.org/node/353