Hallidie Plaza sign waypoints toward SF sister cities


Tourists making their way to take a ride on San Francisco’s cable cars will notice a new sign pointing the way to cities from other countries.

The new directional sign at Hallidie Plaza showcases The City’s 19 sister cities, displaying the direction and the number of kilometers each city is from San Francisco.

Representatives from a number of the sister cities were at a ceremony on Thursday morning to celebrate the new display and each city’s relationship with San Francisco.

Mayor Mark Farrell said The City prides itself with the relationships with its sister cities, especially during a contentious time in the nation:

“Here in San Francisco we are leading in a different manner. We are leading the way building bridges between our different countries and different cities throughout the world.”

The City’s first designated sister city was Osaka, Japan back in 1957, a year before former President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the sister city program for U.S. cities to connect and create relationships with other cities and their mayors throughout the world.

Allen Okamoto, co-chair of the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Association, said the mission statement for the association is similar to those of other sister city associations:

“We are attempting to build bridges of friendship and commerce between the two main powers of the pacific rim: San Francisco and Osaka.”

Other San Francisco sister cities include Sydney, Australia; Taipei, Taiwan; Assisi, Italy; Haifa, Israel’ Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Manila, Philippines; Cork, Ireland; Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; Thessaloniki, Greece; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Paris, France; Zürich, Switzerland; Bangalore, India; Krakow, Poland; Amman, Jordan; Barcelona, Spain; Kiel, Germany.

The project to create the directional sign was a collaboration between The Mayor’s Office of Protocol, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the Department of Public Works and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said the SFPUC donated the pole for the project and the SFMTA’s sign shop created the sign blades.

Nuru said the Public Works division of architecture and engineering helped put the signs in the correct place and order and the operations division built the foundation.

The City’s Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz was also on hand to celebrate the new display.

Shultz said despite everything going on in the nation, the sister city relationships is about friendship:

“San Francisco is a city that is a friendly city and we can do it better than anybody else.”

CORRECTION An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Hallidie Plaza in the headline. SFBay regrets the error.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay and covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Follow Jerold on Twitter @jerold_chinn. Email tips to

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