After three hours of public comment Tuesday, the board for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency unanimously approved a plan that would dramatically change how private vehicles use a significant stretch of Market Street — and by "private vehicles," they mean you, too, Uber.
The Safer Market Street plan (which you can read all about in this PDF) would ban turns on to Market between Third and Eighth Streets for private vehicles. Public transit, commercial and emergency vehicles, cabs, and bikes would still be allowed to turn on to the street, no problem. There wouldn't be any changes to who can cross Market, either.
The MTA takes great pains to say that private vehicles aren't banned from Market...they're just not advised.
"Private automobiles heading eastbound currently are subject to a required right turn at 10th and 6th streets; if entering on 9th Street and heading eastbound they would continue to be required to turn right at 6th Street," the MTA says.
"Westbound private automobiles can enter Market Street on any street east of 3rd Street and travel on Market Street. However, the project team advises private automobiles to use alternate streets, such as Mission, Howard, or Folsom Streets, if travelling eastbound or westbound."
The plan will also extend red-painted transit-only lanes from Eighth to Third streets, and will add eight white passenger loading zones, four parking spaces for the disabled and a new yellow commercial loading zone on Market-adjacent streets.
According to the MTA, these changes will help "address the recent spike in fatalities along high-injury corridors such as Market Street...Market Street hosts four of the top 20 intersections for pedestrian injury collisions citywide and the top two intersections for bicycle injury collisions."
162 injury collisions have occurred between Eighth and Third streets between 2012 and 2013, nearly 60 percent of which involved a person walking or biking who was struck by a car.
“The kinds of crashes happening on Market Street are largely caused by vehicles making turns,” Tom Maguire, director of sustainable streets for the SFMTA, says.
“The only way to reduce these collisions is to reduce dramatically the number of vehicles who are making turns.”
As you might recall, ride-hailing company Uber recently positioned itself as the city's most vocal opponent to the plan, urging users to sign a (eventually hacked) petition to "Allow Uber On Market St." (Which they still are, but whatever, Uber.)
At Tuesday's hearing, which the Chron reports included "three hours of public comments — almost all of them in support of the plan," Uber’s San Francisco general manager Wayne Ting argued that this plan gave cabs preferential treatment.
“If eliminating right turns is making Market Street safer, then all vehicles should be banned from making right turns,” Ting said. In a bit of a switch, he also argued that "he supports turn restrictions —but only if they’re issued to all drivers," the Ex reports. In fact, here's a video of his remarks, so you can see for yourself:
However, SFMTA Board director Malcolm Heinicke says that "to create an exemption for ride-hail apps would be nearly impossible to implement, and would allow thousands more cars onto Market Street."
“It creates enforcement issues I don’t see a solution to,” Heinicke says.
“This is not about pitting taxis against Uber,” McGuire says in response to Uber and Lyft.
“This is about protecting people on Market Street.”