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New help in getting around San Francisco.

Last year's earthquake knocked San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway out of business. Since then, visitors have had trouble finding their way to dim sum, caffe latte, and Dungeness crab. To help get them there-and boost merchants' sales-the city is providing free parking and shuttle service to Chinatown and North Beach through the holidays, and has posted directional signs along alternative routes to these neighborhoods and Fisherman's Wharf.

The Park and Ride Shuttle is free to anyone who wants to take advantage of it. You can park at Golden Gate Garage and take the shuttle from there or board at stops along the route. The garage is at 250 Clay Street, between Battery and Davis (or enter on the Washington Street side); wait for the shuttle on Washington. It rung every 12 to 15 minutes and operates 6 Pm. to midnight Thursdays, 6 Pm. to 2 A.M. Fridays, 10 A.M. to 2 A.M. Saturdays, and 10 A.M. to 10 P.M. Sundays.

The shuttle makes four stops: Kearny and Jackson (Columbus and Kearny on the return), Columbus and Broadway (northeast corner), Columbus and Green, and the south side of Washington Square. Columbus roughly defines the eastern edge of Chinatown and the western edge of North Beach. (For a walk in North Beach, see page 14.) Stops are identified by red-and-white Park and Ride signs. Service is scheduled to run at least into January.

To qualify for the free parking, you must have your parking ticket stamped by one of the more than 400 merchants displaying the red-and-white Park and Ride poster (without a stamp, parking will cost you $14.50 over 6 hours). You have to make a purchase, but there is no minimum amount. Participating merchants include groceries, banks, butcher shops, restaurants, and bars.

If you opt to drive

Follow the new color-coded signs marking routes to the three neighborhoods. Drivers from the East Bay should exit I-80 at the Embarcadero exit; drivers from the South Bay should exit US. 101 at Civic Center. From any of these off-ramps, follow the signs: the green boot of Italy points traffic to North Beach, the red Chinese lantern to Chinatown, and the orange crab to Fisherman's Wharf.

Or try the cable car

In addition to these routes, don't ignore San Francisco's most picturesque ride to these districts, by cable car. From the Powell BART station on Market Street, you can hop on either line that runs up Powell Street (queues can be very long). En route to Fisherman's Wharf, it will take you within a few blocks of Chinatown and North Beach. The Embarcadero BART station is close to the terminus of the California line, which runs right through Chinatown. Adult fare is $2.

If you want more information, try the following numbers on weekdays: Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, (415) 982-3000; North Beach Chamber of Commerce, 673-2522; and the Department of Parking and Traffic,. 554-9805. Call 673-6864 for city bus schedules.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 1990
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