The proposed Market Street ban on Uber, Lyft, and essentially all cars that are not taxicabs, buses, or delivery vehicles was just unveiled this week, and is nowhere close to being law. It still hasn’t been approved by the Board of Supervisors, its California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review wouldn’t begin until 2019 at the earliest, and even the most generous timeline does not have Market Street and its sidewalks being reconstructed until 2022 by which time robots will probably be driving every vehicle. But that did not stop KRON 4 personality and recurring Family Guy character Stanley Roberts from devoting Wednesday’s installment of “People Behaving Badly” to nailing Uber, Lyft, and out-of-town drivers for their rampant disregard of current Market Street restrictions.
Roberts still catches some lawbreakers in the video above, as he directs his rideshare-shaming toward Lyft, Uber, and private car drivers on Market Street between Third Street and Eighth Street (where those vehicles are currently not allowed). “I was not aware of that,” one driver tells Roberts.
Stanley’s point, and it is a legitimate one, is that if rideshare companies aren’t notifying drivers of these laws (and/or if the drivers cannot read existing signage) with regards to just a five-block stretch of Market Street, then can we really expect compliance once two whole miles of Market Street are supposed to be free of rideshares and private vehicles?
Meanwhile the Chronicle spoke to several bicyclists and shop owners about the proposed car ban and the corresponding destruction and reconstruction of Market Street. As you’d guess, the bikers all love it and the business owners all hate the idea.
“I think it’s awesome, it’s really great,” commuting bicyclist Cassidy Deline told the Chron. “To be honest, I don’t really think cars want to be on Market Street anyway.” (Objection: Cars totally want to be on Market Street.)
Contra Stanley Roberts, rideshare drivers contended to the Chronicle that the current restrictions have already rendered Market Street undrivable. “It is what it is already,” Uber driver John Leibbrand said.
Business owners are of course the most opposed, because they fear lack of immediate access to their own businesses by car, and because the area around their storefronts will be torn up for construction for much of the early 2020s. “There’s a million other bars in the city, especially in downtown, where it’s quieter and more accessible” than, say, the Sutter Station Tavern would be during the construction phase, the establishment's bartender Tiana Narruhn said.
Though she floated a silver lining.“Construction workers like to drink, right?” Perhaps they do, but we worry that could lead to more scenes like this.