A new proposal for the $350 million Better Market Street project could divide people—literally. The proposal involves moving the 14-Mission to Market Street and widening the lanes while routing all cyclist traffic over to Mission Street, where the estimated 5,000 bike commuters who use Market daily could enjoy a permanent bike track separated from traffic.

Without buses running on Mission, transit planners would be able to institute timed light changes for cyclists like those on Valencia Street, ensuring a smooth ride downtown for bike commuters who now must navigate around cars and buses on the narrow streets of Market. But planners acknowledge that giving bikes preferential treatment could exacerbate tensions between drivers and the cyclists who are receiving increasing concessions on SF's streets.

But drivers and cyclists might be able to agree on something: both riding and driving down Market Street can be a harrowing experience. Craterous potholes, narrower-than-normal lanes and a dangerous mix of buses, cars and bikes make for a bad combination. Officials hope that the expensive plan will make the trip easier for everyone, while transforming sidewalks and plazas into spaces where people want to linger. No word on how the city's homeless figure into the equation.

The new plan isn't expected to break ground until 2017, so there's lots of time to debate the issue. The two-year construction project would include repaving Market Street from Octavia Street to the Embarcadero and moving Market's granite curbs, which sounds like a transportation hellscape in and of itself. But hey, maybe things need to get worse before they get better.


Previously: New Raised 'Cycle Tracks' Proposed for Market Street