The Chronicle’s story the other day about a study to restrict automobiles on Market Street downtown contains an important nugget of information that got buried in the story.
“‘There has been a change in attitude over the last five years,’ said Carolyn Diamond, executive director of the Market Street Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes the beautification and economic development of the central corridor. ‘This may be a way for the city to become better,’ she said.’
Merchant opposition to any auto restrictions on Market has been a big stumbling block to speeding transit service, including F-line streetcars of course. Sounds like there’s greater understanding now that with no parking, left turns, or driveways between Eight Street and the Ferry Building, moving cars off Market won’t hurt shopping. And this time, the study appears to be on a fast track — three months for the County Transportation Authority to take a look and report back.
The main legislative proponent of the change, Supervisor Chris Daly, first raised it with us at our annual meeting something like five years ago, and we told him we would likely be supportive depending on the details. In the Chronicle article, he says he expects to implement it in “baby steps,” probably with daytime restrictions first.
This is an important issue to Market Street Railway because automobile traffic on the tracks east of Fifth Street can greatly slow F-line service, adding several minutes to running times which, in turn, cuts the effective capacity of the line. We’ll be watching this…let us know what you think.