Tweak to Market Street Traffic Diversion Pilot Should Benefit Cyclists, Peds

011210_Market_St._Pilot_Map.jpgClick to enlarge. Image courtesy SFMTA.

Drivers heading east on Market Street will soon be directed to turn off at 10th Street instead of 8th Street, a refinement intended to improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists on Market. Mayor Newsom and the MTA announced the change today, two and a half months after the launch of the traffic diversion pilot program on Market, which has required eastbound private automobiles to turn right off of Market at 6th and 8th Streets.

The trial has largely been praised by bicyclists and has helped Muni buses travel down the street an average of 50 seconds faster, but the intersection of Market and 8th Streets has been a challenge for cyclists from the start. There’s no bike lane at the intersection, and cars queuing up to turn right leave little room for bikes, which are hemmed in by a Muni boarding island. The MTA hopes 10th Street will have fewer conflicts, since it has a separate bike lane, made possible by the lack of a Muni boarding island, and fewer pedestrians, partially since it’s farther from a Muni Metro station.

The right-turn-only requirement will switch from 8th Street to 10th Street on January 26, and will be in place for at least six weeks, at which point the city will evaluate the impact of the change. The MTA first announced it was considering the change two months ago. At the time, MTA Chief of Staff Debra Johnson said the agency also believed the directed turn would be easier to enforce at 10th Street than at 8th Street.

MTA Executive Director Nat Ford described the change as a gain for Muni riders as well.

"This pilot project takes a measured approach to improving conditions for transit customers and pedestrians," Ford said in a release. "Adjusting the pilot will provide us with additional information to shape our collective decisions about Market Street’s future."

Kit Hodge, Director of the Great Streets Project, welcomed the change as a sign of the city’s commitment to learning from the trial – which is part of a broader effort to improve Market Street. "We’re pleased the city has been evaluating the project and that they’re paying attention to refining the trials and thinking about next steps," said Hodge. "The important thing is this has been an iterative process, and this is proof that the city is really thinking about refining, putting out meaningful trials, and producing something on the street that actually improves conditions for everyone."

  • Wow, its great that the city is doing a pilot and then adjusting it based on results in order to create the best possible design.

    I’m still really curious though how the city is planning on motivating cars to turn right. We can’t pay for PCOs to always be standing on the streets.

  • Nick

    Market Street is coming along nicely, although I feel the whole area North of Market is being ignored as the focus on one “great street” takes hold. Biking away from Market into Civic Center or the Tenderloin is like being thrown in an ocean full of rabid cars.

    Any chance the city would consider funding a non-profit diy bike shop in one of the vacant storefronts along Market?

  • Brian

    This is also great news for those of us who utilize the bike lane on 8th Street! While I am happy to see a car-free Market Street, the re-direction of traffic onto 8th Street actually increased the number of automobiles along my morning commute. Can’t wait until the 26th!

  • michael

    The silly thing about this closure is how few bikes actually use Market. Seems once again the vocal minority wins out against progress.

  • B

    This is great! As a daily bike commuter on Market – along with thousands of other people – this is a great development to make the road safer. Let’s hope the momentum keeps growing – to make Market St – a place people want to visit and spend more time and money. I like the new murals too rather than blight of boarded up buildings. I hope the changes will make it more inviting to bike or walk around downtown. Go Market St!