Market Street Right Turns Made Permanent by SFMTA Board

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A trial project diverting private automobile traffic off Market Street will become permanent following a unanimous vote by the SFMTA Board of Directors today. The changes have made the the city’s main thoroughfare more inviting for people who walk, take transit and bike by requiring eastbound drivers on Market to turn right at 10th and 6th Streets.

The improvements are “bringing more people to Market Street despite the tough economic times,” said Kit Hodge, Director of the San Francisco Great Streets Project. Since the trial began in September 2009, transit speeds and pedestrian and bicycle traffic have shown a marked increase.

The street is now “the busiest bicycling street west of the Mississippi,” with bikes making up 75 percent of morning vehicle traffic on last year’s Bike to Work Day, according to the SFBC.

Letters of support from those who feel more comfortable biking on Market Street “completely put to bed the urban myth that the cyclists in this town are young, strong men,” said Director Cheryl Brinkman. “The same people who are on our buses and our streetcars – the same variety of professions, ethnicities and ages – that’s who should and want to be out there on bikes.”

With reduced congestion and bus lane encroachment from automobiles, Muni travel times have decreased by about 3 percent, and “no serious congestion problems arose” on Mission and Folsom Streets, according to the SFMTA.

While the turn at 10th Street has seen approximately 80 percent compliance from drivers after targeted enforcement and a number of tweaks, critics have noted the 6th Street turn hasn’t seen the same level of attention or compliance. SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said making the turns permanent will allow San Francisco Police to enforce the rule.

  • zoolander law, in full effect! nice.

  • Nick

    Maybe now they’ll start enforcing the signage.

  • Mark Dreger

    While it would be nice to add some more permanent barriers, we should really be discussing what we would like to see on Market for the 2015 repaving. A separated green cycle track buffered by curb? Better bus/streetcar boarding zones? Easier pedestrian crossings? This is the next step for Market and it’s only 4 years away.

  • Hurray! And, yes, hopefully they will start enforcing it. Because I still see a lot of private vehicles on Market. But the ride on Market is already a very nice experience.

  • stuart, i wouldn’t go as far as to say that riding down market st is a “very nice experience.” it could still, and should, be much better. personally, i’d like to see more permanent barriers separating the bike lanes from the auto lanes – those flimsy plastic posts just ain’t cutting it.

  • @Dominic Fair enough!

  • having these changes seems to help everyone, that’s great.

    However this statement is a bit strange:

    “The street is now “the busiest bicycling street west of the Mississippi,” with bikes making up 75 percent of morning vehicle traffic on last year’s Bike to Work Day, according to the SFBC.”

    To which I would simply ask – how is that relevant? Obviously on a special day where everyone makes an effort to ride a bike you’d have these numbers. But why aren’t we told what they are on non-special days? Is that point irrelevant or something?

    just curious.

  • Aaron Bialick

    Greg –

    I found the 75 percent statistic to be the most powerful and relevant one available, but it’s a good point – the SFMTA has indeed reported the same finding on regular days in 2009. The SFMTA 2010 Bicycle Count Report [pdf] also shows a 33 percent increase of regular AM bicycle traffic at 5th and Market from August 2009 – August 2010, and that was the same jump seen on Bike to Work Day in those years.

  • John Murphy

    Greg – Market Street is like frigging Beijing. It makes Valencia look like Blackhawk Colorado (bikes banned).

  • Nadir

    No Ambi-turners on Market!

  • Voiceofreasonsf

    I can’t believe what’s happened to our most important thoroughfare.  Everything west of 5th St. is a total deadzone.  No merchant in their right mind would establish a business in Mid Market with no access to it.  I can’t even drop off my disabled Dad in a Zipcar, unless I literally stop in the left lane to let them out!  If had the means, and the time, I’d sue the pants off the City for not allowing “reasonable accommodation”.
    In years to come we’ll look back at what a failed policy this was.  There simply HAS to be a better way.  Why can’t part of the HUGE sidewalk be converted to a dedicated, safe bike lane?  I’m glad that more people have chosen to bike downtown.  But in reality, most of us can’t.  Yet there seems to be NO means for compromise.  More recently, while carpooling to work on Portola, we nearly had an accident when suddenly plastic poles appeared in the right lane!  Not a single bicyclist in sight, yet an entire lane of traffic coned off.And now, Alemany’s right lane is coned off?  SERIOUSLY?  You want to co-mingle bikes with a FREEWAY RAMP?  Someone’s going to get killed.It’s just tyranny of the vocal minority.And I don’t even own a car.

  • “our most important thoroughfare”

    What did they do to Geary?

  • mikesonn

    Why are you dropping off your disabled dad in a deadzone?

  • peternatural

    Agreed, the plastic poles should be rejiggered to come up gradually, so they don’t startle people and cause accidents!

    As for “no access” to mid-Market, that’s strange. There’s plenty of street and garage parking nearby, not to mention other ways to get there: MUNI, bike, walk, cab.

  • Anonymous

    @67c8d2449dc3d1e220e3870e8be24424:disqus wrote: “Everything west of 5th St. is a total deadzone”.

    Right, and that’s because they made cars turn right off Market, right? I mean, before they made the forced-right-turn changes a year or so ago, that area was just thriving! But now, it’s a dead-zone. After all, all those cars that were going down Market were mostly going to businesses directly on Market and not passing through. And since these cars really were going to businesses directly on Market, now there is just *no* way they can possibly get there … what, we expect people to have to walk a block or two from where they parked, or take public transit, or [gasp] ride a bike or walk?!

    Wow, you’ve certainly nailed the cause and effect here. Tremendous analysis.


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