In a sweeping attempt to curb pedestrian injuries and deaths on Market Street, SFMTA announced that private vehicles won’t be allowed on the road starting January 29th.
A Market Street, sans vehicles, has been a talking point for some years, leading to the Better Market Street project, which aims to do just that: Fix the troubled downtown thoroughfare. We've reported on the project's evolution prior, but, as the SF Examiner broke the news yesterday, the City of San Francisco announced this week that spans of Market Street will be (mostly) car-free before January comes to an end.
Moving SF - Car-Free Market Street starts January 29https://t.co/c3LdCSP446— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) December 31, 2019
Though automobiles will still be allowed to cross Market Street, most vehicles won't be allowed to travel in the eastbound lanes between 10th Street and Main Street, and westbound between Steuart Street and Van Ness Avenue.
For you commuting curiosities, Curbed SF writes the following motorized vehicles can continue to use Market Street, normally:
- Muni buses
- Regular bikes and E-bikes
- Emergency vehicles
- Commercial vehicles
- Designated taxis that have city-issued medallions
That's correct: Your Chevy Cruze and the Toyota Prius your ride-share driver's likely steering can’t go up and down Market, though you (and your Uber or Lyft) can still use the long stretch of cement as a cross street.
SFMTA and traffic safety organizations hope this radical decision will stop — or, at the very least, mitigate — pedestrian fatalities in SoMa; the project was unanimously approved by the agency's Board of Directors in October. Aside from bolstering sidewalk and bike-lane safety, a lack of private vehicles is expected to help quicken public transport, speeding up the travel times of some 200 buses that cover Market Street every hour.
The $604-million budgeted plan will allow for future improvements on Market Street in 2020, to boot. Numerous plazas and performance spaces are slated to open; more bike facilities and safe parking areas are to be built; the sidewalks, themselves, will widen.
Market Street sees over a half-million daily walkers trudge along the sidewalks, with another 400,000 bikes taking to the streets.
Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia