Although the city is still a long ways from achieving Gavin Newsom's dream of turning Market Street into the Champs-Elysée of the West, the S.F. Municipal Transportation Agency will start enforcing new traffic rules and turning away even more vehicles from the city's main commercial artery starting in the next few months.
Like the 2009 plan that began frustrating drivers headed from Van Ness to Main Street, the latest phase will whisky private vehicles away from Market Street at several key intersections. This time around, however, the program is being billed as a pedestrian safety effort, rather than an effort to speed up public transit along the busy thoroughfare. The SFMTA's director of strategic planning Timothy Papandreou explained the project's new goals to the Chronicle:
Market Street between Eighth and Montgomery streets has twice as many collisions as parallel Mission Street despite having only a third of the traffic, Papandreou said. It also includes four of the city's 20 worst intersections for collisions that injure or kill pedestrians - Fifth Street, Sixth Street, Eighth Street and Main Street. Two of the worst intersections for bike collisions are also on Market at Third and Fifth streets.
If you're one of the remaining few people who actually drives on Market Street, you might have noticed certain pieces of the new plan have already begun to appear: "Don't Block The Box" warning signs have appeared at intersections and transit-only lanes are getting a fresh coat of red warning paint (see also: Church Street at Castro and the fresh paint on Third Street in SoMa). Most importantly in this war on private vehicular traffic, SFPD and the DPT will be cracking down on those who take up bus lanes or make turns where they're not supposed to.
The new, mandatory turns will start rolling out in 2015 at the intersection of Fifth and Market, which Papandreou also called "the worst of the worst." From there, the MTA will study the impact of any new changes and decide how to proceed the rest of the way down Market.
Anyhow, things are bad now, sure. But at least we don't have horses and petticoats to deal with: