Mayor London Breed Celebrates Opening of Car-Free Market Street
Effective today, Market Street will be closed to private vehicle traffic, making the street safer for bicyclists and pedestrians
San Francisco, CA —Mayor London N. Breed today celebrated the opening of a car-free Market Street. This transformation, paired with numerous other improvements along the corridor, will improve safety and ensure Muni reliability along 2.2 miles of the City’s most traveled street. Mayor Breed was joined by community leaders, department staff, and members of the advocacy community for a ribbon cutting and ride along Market Street in the Muni Boat Tram.
This initial effort to improve Market Street is enabled by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Quick Build program, which Mayor Breed championed in 2019. The Quick Build program will accelerate the implementation of much needed safety improvements. The decision to make Market Street car-free was a core component of the Better Market Street Plan, which was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors in October after a years-long design, community feedback, and approval process. Half of the City’s top ten intersections for injury collisions involving people walking or biking are on Market Street, making the transition to a car-free Market especially vital and urgent.
“After years of discussion, activism, and planning, 2020 is the year we will truly put people first on Market Street,” said Mayor Breed. “Starting today, San Francisco’s main civic boulevard will be returned to pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders—making it safer for everyone who uses it and helping us make progress on our Vision Zero and climate goals.”
The implementation of car-free Market Street is part of a broader effort in San Francisco to redesign our streets to move more people on public transit, and ensure those walking and biking can do so safely. These efforts are necessary to ensure San Francisco can continue to grow and help move people sustainably and efficiently.
Market Street is now car-free eastbound from 10th to Main Streets and westbound from Steuart Street to Van Ness Avenue. In addition to restricting private vehicles, the Quick Build effort includes extending Muni-only lanes, new loading zones and much-needed intersection safety improvements.
“The Market Street project helps us meet two key goals: moving more people by eliminating congestion delay on our most important transit corridor, and improving safety on the street with five of our top-ten, high-injury intersections,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation.
“Since my time on the Board of Supervisors, I’ve been an advocate for a better Market Street that prioritizes public transit, walking and biking over car traffic,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D‑San Francisco), who supported the Better Market Street project when he was on the Board of Supervisors. “I’m thrilled to see Market Street finally go car-free after years of hard work from advocates to get this done. I want to thank Mayor Breed for her leadership on this.”
“Car-free Market Street has been years in the making and could not be more urgently needed,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “Prioritizing transit, cycling, and pedestrians over private vehicles will decrease congestion, improve public transit reliability, and make our downtown safer for all.”
“The transformation of Market Street is the kind of bold change that will encourage more San Franciscans to try biking and improve safety for everyone,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “Years of outreach and planning went into making today possible, and we're grateful to Mayor Breed for her leadership in getting us here.”
“Today, San Francisco joins cities around the world that are creating streets that put people—and safety—first,” said Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk San Francisco. “We’re grateful to Mayor Breed for her leadership in making this long-time dream a reality, and San Francisco will be a safer and stronger city because of it.”
Today’s highly anticipated change provides a path forward for longer-term construction improvements to make Market Street safer for those walking or on bikes, speed up Muni, and improve loading and delivery for businesses. In addition to safety benefits, going car-free on Market Street will prioritize transit on a street that sees upwards of 200 buses per hour during peak times. With bus lines branching throughout San Francisco, boosting Muni’s reliability on Market Street will positively affect transit across the entire city.
The Better Market Street Project is a comprehensive planning and decision-making collaboration between numerous City agencies. San Francisco Public Works is leading the multi-agency project in partnership with SFMTA, the San Francisco Planning Department, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office on Disability.
Construction on the full project is expected to start in late 2020 or early 2021. For project details, please visit the Better Market Street San Francisco website: http://www.bettermarketstreetsf.org/
About Better Market Street
The City’s multi-agency project is a transformational redesign of San Francisco’s busiest pedestrian, bicyclist and transit corridor. Better Market Street, which stretches from Steuart Street to Octavia Boulevard, will be built in phases to enhance safety for people traveling down Market Street, improve transit and create a vibrant and inclusive destination where people want to live, work and visit.
The Better Market Street project team held multiple public open houses and ongoing meetings over the past few years with businesses, residents, developers, Community Benefit Districts, neighborhood associations, and advocacy groups representing pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and people with disabilities. The project team has a longstanding and diverse Community Working Group that meets regularly.
Quick Build elements of Better Market Street include:
- Making Market a car-free zone east of 10th Street.
- 100 new cross-street passenger and commercial loading zones to accommodate safe loading.
- Peak hour loading restrictions on Market Street to reduce conflicts between people on bicycles, transit and commercial vehicles.
- Extending existing transit-only lane east from Third to Main Street, the segment of Market with the most transit service, and making it Muni-only (taxis and non-Muni buses will no longer be allowed).
- Installing painted safety zones at eight intersections to make crossing the street safer.
- Adding bicycle intersection improvements at Eighth, Page, Battery, and Valencia streets.