Press Release

Mayor Newsom Announces Launch Of The Better Market Street Project

New Plan to Repave, Reimagine and Revitalize Market Street as City’s ‘Main Street’

12/29/10 - Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced the launch of the Better Market Street Project to transform the public realm along Market Street from The Embarcadero to Octavia Street with long term infrastructure improvements. The project will facilitate a safe, universally accessible, sustainable thoroughfare that will attract more people to walk, bike, and use public transit to visit San Francisco’s local shops, neighborhoods and area attractions. The project launch includes the formation of a 15-member Citizen’s Advisory Committee which includes representatives from various stakeholders and the award of a $250,000 planning grant from Caltrans to study transit modes along Market Street.

“Market Street is San Francisco’s ‘Main Street,’ and through this effort we will reimagine and rebuild Market Street to rival the great thoroughfares of the world,” said Mayor Newsom. “With the leadership of City agencies and a public process, we will identify and implement specific solutions that work best for our main corridor and take further steps towards revitalizing Market Street for generations to come.”

The goal of the Better Market Street Project is to create a unifying vision to revitalize Market Street from The Embarcadero to Octavia Street, to be more than just a transportation route, but a world class vibrant space through public realm improvements and enhancements that inspire a sense of place, support multiple modes of transit, and foster economic growth.

A major component of this project is the community visioning process which includes a series of workshops and other outreach measures facilitated by consultant Perkins + Will to collect broad input from stakeholders and local communities. The outreach meetings will start in Spring 2011. The resulting consensus will be used to form a number of strategic and significant public space improvements which may include; landscaping, lighting, traffic and transit improvements, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, outdoor seating, repaving, and other features. The repaving of Market Street, from Embarcadero to Van Ness Avenue, is a planned project under the Department of Public Work’s Five Year Paving Plan.

“Market Street is an aging corridor with infrastructure that needs renewal below and above ground,” said Edward Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works. “Rather than simply repair the infrastructure to its original form, the Better Market Street project is a once in a generation opportunity for the public to rethink Market Street and rebuild it as a great urban boulevard that is appropriate for today’s and tomorrow’s San Francisco.”

For more than a century, Market Street has been a central transit route in San Francisco’s evolution. The street was built in the late 1800’s with the vision of Market Street as a grand boulevard. Its diagonal design made it unique and the central transportation route for residents and visitors. Over the years, the corridor has undergone many changes; however, there is growing recognition that Market Street has potential to offer amenities that will establish it as the signature corridor in San Francisco. On an average weekday, more than a quarter of a million people travel along Market Street to and from their destinations through varying modes of transit.

Market Street is characterized by a number of complex intersections that serve a number of modes within tight constraints including a route for transit, bikes, pedestrians, taxis, delivery trucks, and other private motor vehicles. Market Street was last upgraded in 1987.

The Better Market Street Project will identify solutions and complement existing citywide plans including the Better Streets Plan and the San Francisco Bicycle Plan. Phase One of the visioning and planning process is funded through a Safe Routes to Transit grant, Caltrans Planning Grant, Prop K, and the General Fund to total $1.4 million. The City’s Ten-year Capital Plan estimates that $138 million is needed to complete a comprehensive renovation of Market Street (cost is an estimate for planning purposes).

The Department of Public Works is leading the Better Market Street project in partnership with the Planning Department, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

For more information about the Better Market Street Project, go to