San Francisco’s Market Street becomes car-free

Posted: 31 January 2020 |

Market Street is reportedly home to half of the top 10 intersections for pedestrian and bicycle collisions in the city; each year since 2014 the area-averaged over 100 injury collisions per year – 75 per cent of them involving people walking or cycling.

San Francisco's Market Street becomes car-free

Through the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Quick-build programme, Market Street has become car-free eastbound to Main and westbound from Steuart to Van Ness. Market Street is said to be one of the busiest areas in San Francisco – for vehicles and pedestrians – and the move looks to put the safety of pedestrians and cyclists first, whilst also improving the local air quality.  

“For years Market Street has been far too dangerous for pedestrians, while also boasting a half million people walking on it every single day,” said Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian advocacy group.

“That’s a huge disconnect, especially since San Francisco is committed to ending severe and fatal traffic crashes by 2024. A car-free Market is an essential step toward a dramatically safer street for everyone who uses it.”

In addition to safety benefits, going car-free on Market Street also aims to prioritise transit on a street that sees upwards of 200 buses per hour during peak times.

While Market Street officially became car-free on 29 January 2020, other changes listed below are set to be implemented over the first few months of 2020:

  • No private vehicles allowed on Market Street eastbound from 10th to Main and westbound from Steuart to Van Ness – including app-based ride hail companies like Uber/Lyft
  • Vehicles with commercial plates, taxis, emergency vehicles and paratransit will still be able to use Market Street
  • Vehicle direction changes for sections of Ellis, Jones, Second and Steuart streets to improve safety and vehicle circulation
  • Right turns onto Valencia from eastbound Market Street will no longer be allowed, Page Street will become a bike-only connection to and from Market Street.
  • 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 in centre lane)
  • Buses in the curb lane will benefit from the car-free restrictions as well
  • 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
  • Installing painted safety zones at eight intersections to make crossing the street safer and shorter
  • New bicycle intersection improvements at Eighth, Page, Battery, and Valencia streets.