Signs of Lax Enforcement of Car Restrictions on Market Street

SFMTA parking control officers posted to instruct drivers not to turn on to Market at Eighth Streets. Photo: Aaron Bialick
SFMTA parking control officers posted to instruct drivers not to turn on to Market at Eighth Street. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Nearly two weeks in, the bans preventing private auto drivers from turning on to most of lower Market Street have, by all accounts, made the street safer and more efficient.

But at an SFMTA Board of Directors meeting this week, member Gwyneth Borden noted that officers posted on Market “don’t seem to be as vigilant as one might like,” particularly during the evening commute.

Enforcement is provided by SFPD officers posted at some intersections, in addition to SFMTA parking control officers (who can’t ticket moving violations) stationed to provide guidance.

While there are no stats available yet to evaluate Borden’s observation, I also noticed two separate instances at Market and Eighth Streets last week where SFMTA officers posted at the corner weren’t paying attention to oncoming car traffic. On two different days when I passed through the intersection, I stopped to get photos of the officers facing traffic to help illustrate the enforcement for a post. But both times, I watched the officers talk to each other for several minutes without looking for turn ban violators.

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin said that “by and large,” the restrictions have been effective and well-received, though there are “some bugs to work out.” He noted that a Muni driver told him it was much safer and easier to drive down Market.

SFMTA Board member Malcom Heinicke said he’s been pleased with the results, but will continue to push for a truly car-free Market. “I look forward to the days when New Yorkers refer to Broadway as the Market Street of the east,” he said.

Recently I was biking east on Market past Eighth, with two drivers simply cruising down the bike lane, in front of and behind me. The posted SFMTA officers didn’t seem to notice.

This car is moving. Photo: Aaron Bialick
Yep, this car was moving. Photo: Aaron Bialick

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