Streetfilm: Making a Better Market Street

Just about everyone who visits San Francisco’s grand Market Street is awed
by its hustle and bustle, the myriad modes of transportation, and some
of the beautiful architecture the city hosts. But just about everyone
also agrees that Market Street has a much bigger potential as a people
space that accommodates its users in more efficient and human terms.
Parts of the street are in disrepair; whole blocks contain more boarded
up facades than functioning businesses.

Streetfilms was able to talk to many advocates who would like to see
a different configuration of Market Street. Folks who have already
invested time in making it better, and thoughts from passerby who use
it as a daily commuting option. It’s fair too say not all ideas are
universal accepted across all with a stake in Market Street, but
hopefully their thoughts can serve as a springboard to a bigger
discussion on what to do when the street is finally re-examined and

  • Brooke

    Bravo Clarence!

  • jdub


    This film nicely captures all the chaos and potential of street. I like how you interviewed people of many different viewpoints. One of the best Streetfilms yet.

  • Corey

    Nicely done, Clarence. You definitely got a lot of great footage while you were out here! Thanks again for everything.

  • LARA

    Yes, I want a Market Street I can be proud of! I was so surprised when I came to the city and found the center of the city not bustling with life. To me that is prime property. Lets make it a place to stay, to walk, to cycle, not a transit route.

  • Nice video!
    I too, am one of those frequent bike riders on Market St. I don’t think aboloshing cars from the street is necessarily the fix, but a reduction in lanes may be in order, thus giving more dedicated space to cyclists. Cars can share with busses though it may also be beneficial to post map/street signs that say “Traffic? try Mission, Howard or Folsom” to encourage other routes available. Most of the locals already know to avoid Market St.
    Thanks again for getting the word out.

  • Prohibiting through traffic would be a start. Creating a ped/transit plaza at Powell/Market, closing the street to cars between 4th and 5th, would be a great start.

  • Some ideas…

    * Transport: Ban automobiles except for cross-streets from Van Ness all the way to Mission/Steuart. Widen bus/streetcar islands. Dedicated lane for cyclists, skaters and skateboarders. Give transit vehicles priority by enabling them to activate a green in their favor in order keep their schedule.

    * Life between buildings: Soften the space with more grass areas, flexible/movable furniture for sitting, water features. When current contracts run out eliminate advertisement from bus shelters and other street level spaces (except for cultural and non-profit content) and ideally redesign all to have individual look. Create transport-free days or partial days: No transit, no cycling… just walking, playing and dancing. Redirect cross streets if possible on these days. Install separated recycling bins.

    * Culture: Require all institutions which receive funding from the city (everything from the Opera to middle schools) to provide a certain amount of free performances or even hold rehearsals on the street.

  • KK

    I’m fine if they keep Market east of Powell exactly as it is and instead did something to develop the shithole that is Market from Powell to Van Ness.


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Purple light shows a Muni subway heading inbound, while an M or (a Daly City BART train?) heads outbound...somewhere below. Image: Illuminate

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