Better Market Street Program Begins

Better Market Street Program Begins

Changes to Market Street effective Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A new chapter begins tomorrow in the life of San Francisco’s grand boulevard. A trial project is beginning which discourages private vehicles traveling eastbound towards the waterfront using Market Street with forced right turns at Eighth Street and again at Sixth Street.
The six week trial is part of the Better Market Street Project, a partnership between five city agencies which aims to rejuvenate Market Street as San Francisco’s civic backbone. Over the next 6-12 months new street furniture will be installed along with additional greenery, outdoor restaurant seat and mini-plazas and plenty of new artwork including murals and installations in vacant store fronts.


Safety zones at intersections will receive improved signs and street markings like those in this TA concept.

We are excited about this project to make Market Street a “destination, not a thoroughfare” as Leah Shahum of the San Francisco Bike Coalition put it.
The F-Market & Wharves historic streetcar line already provides a unique and attractive transit option serving the entire Market Street corridor, but performance suffers (along with all Muni lines) from having to contend with privately owned vehicles which often back up at signals and prevent the buses and historic trolleys from being able to drop off and pick up passengers at the island stops. As a cyclist, I’ve had several close calls with drivers who weren’t paying attention and was once thrown from my bike (landing on my shoulder which hurt for days) when I had swerve into the center lane where my wheel got caught in the track.
A study found nudging eastbound drivers off Market with forced right turns could reduce traffic up to 35%, and transit delays by 19%, but we just won’t know until we try it. That translates into a better conditions for bikes and pedestrian along with faster, more reliable, and more cost effective Muni service. For businesses along Market that would mean more potential customers.
With any changes there’s a very serious risk of accidents because people are so used to how it is they don’t pay attention. So please pay careful attention out there and look out for one another. We recommend taking transit, especially the F.
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