Promising Start to Market Street Traffic Trials

Trial Forced Turn at Eighth Street

Bikes outnumber cars on Market these days. Jamison Wieser photo.

The trial project to reduce traffic on Market Street which started only yesterday has already gone beyond anything we’d expected. For the next 6 weeks, private traffic is being diverted off Market Street at both Eighth and Sixth Streets freeing up Market for bikes, taxis, delivery trucks and Muni’s busses and F-line streetcars. There’s no restrictions from turning onto Market, and while we didn’t expect anyone would choose to get back onto Market, we expected more drivers who already crossed Market downwind of these turns to take advantage of the reduced traffic.
Few drivers are choosing to do so and we only needed one hand to count the number of private vehicles passing through at Fourth Street over a 10 minute period this morning. We’re going to call it 4.5 since one was a vespa, which do count as private motor vehicles required to turn at Eighth and Sixth or face a ticket.
In their coverage Streetsblog emphasized the benefits for Muni:

Even though the F-line and most buses run in transit-only lanes in the center of Market through the affected stretch, [a Muni inspector] said the lack of cars cutting in illegally made a big difference.

Other drivers interviewed on the 5-Fulton, 21-Hayes, and 71-Haight nearly all used the same term – “smoother” – to describe their trips today. The lunchtime mini-rush hour was indeed smooth, said a 21-Hayes operator, who had heard from another driver that the morning commute, normally very congested, “was a lot quicker.”

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Barcelona’s La Rambla is popular with locals and tourists alike. Jamison Wieser photo.

By no means does this mean all our traffic woes have been solved. Data will be collected throughout the trial to determine how much of an impact it has both on Market and the streets traffic is being diverted onto.
Everyone is invited to give feedback, but successfully revitalizing Market Street depends upon more than just sending an email to say you like the changes.
In the end though, people need to vote with their feet and visit, shop, dine and use Market Street if it’s going to become our own home-spun version of Barcelona’s La Rambla or Paris’s Champs-Élysées.
More Coverage:
» Market St. traffic test starts (SF Gate)
» Market Street Automobile Closure Day One – An Eyewitness Account (SFist)
» The New Market Street: 6th and 8th Street Turns (Transbay Blog)

Comments: 1

  1. Barcelona is my favorite city in Europe, but it’s going to take more than a pair of turn lanes if you want San Francisco to be more like it. Spain has been building a city wide bike network for years with streets constantly being closed to make them into bike lanes, but I just can’t see Americans letting go of their God-given cars.
    Everyone making such a big deal out of a couple stops lights shows just how far we are from being anything remotely like one of the world class cities which San Francisco transit elite like to use stock photos of.

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