Pop-Up Meetings for Better Market Street

Come and see the vision for a car-free Market Street

Rendering of a future Market Street. Image: Public Works
Rendering of a future Market Street. Image: Public Works

Planners for San Francisco’s Better Market Street project are holding an ongoing set of pop-up/outreach meetings at the Strand Theater, near Civic Center station on Market.

From the project’s Q&A:

…the project proposes to restrict private vehicles on Market Street, from 10th to Spear streets. Buses, taxis, commercial vehicles and paratransit would be exempt from vehicle restrictions.

Banning private cars is probably the most stand-out element of the design for Streetsblog’s readers. But as previously reported, this will also be the first major overhaul of Market Street in nearly a half century. The $500 million project, which will re-arrange the street and repair and replace the infrastructure underneath and the surfaces on top, as well as change how Muni buses are run, is supposed to start construction next year. For now, engineering and outreach continue.

Streetsblog checked in on this first week of pop-up meetings this afternoon. Unfortunately, turnout was light, which city officials say they hope will change as more people get word of the meetings (such as through Streetsblog).

SFMTA’s Phillip Pierce, said so far people seem excited about the protected, sidewalk-level bike lanes, as seen in the lead rendering and in the diagram below.

How Market Street’s layout will work in the future.

Another visitor hoped to see more street art in the designs, said Cristina Olea of Public Works.

The pop-ups will continue through February according to the following schedule:


  • Tuesday, Feb. 5 10 a.m. – noon Landscape, trees and public realm
  • Thursday, Feb. 7 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Loading
  • Tuesday, Feb. 12 10 a.m. – noon Transit changes/transit shelters
  • Thursday, Feb. 14 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Proposed sidewalk level bikeway
  • Tuesday, Feb. 19 10 a.m. – noon Transit changes/transit shelters
  • Thursday, Feb. 21 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Loading
  • Tuesday, Feb. 26 10 a.m.-noon Transit
  • Thursday, Feb. 28 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Landscape, trees and public realm

If you can’t make a pop-up, check out their newest renderings and designs online.

Phillip Pierce and Jennifer Blot of Public Works, the lead agency on the project
Phillip Pierce and Cristina Olea of Public Works, the lead agency on the project, at the Strand pop up. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
  • RBVanDyke

    I like the idea of fewer cars on Market Street. And understand that the illustration is an artist’s conception that might not include all details. BUT where are the streetcar tracks? And the subway ventilation grates that seem to have a secondary design objective making cycling treacherous?

    I’d much rather see Market Street given over to private automobiles and a protected bicycle lane down the middle of tracks and gratings-free Mission Street…

  • p_chazz

    When I first saw the headline, I thought it was about improving the quality of Market Street popups. Now that I see it’s about improving the quality of Market Street generally. I have serious reservations about this project. Transit malls have often failed where they have been tried–Chicago’s doomed State Street Mall comes to mind. Even Streetsblog recognized as much https://chi.streetsblog.org/2013/03/11/why-was-the-state-street-pedestrian-mall-a-failure/ Hopefully BMS will have learned from others’ mistakes and not be putting cars back onto Market in 2037.

    I will try to attend a couple of these events, but I wish that BMS had scheduled some in the late afternoon or early evening. It’s difficult to take time from work to attend meetings. One wonders if they actually don’t want people to attend.

  • Roger R.

    Good observation about the headline. I changed it.

  • mx

    I don’t want to see Market Street given over to private autos by any means, but it’s not clear to me that there’s any coherent planning going on in SoMa. They’re trying to turn Market into a pedestrian+bus+bike mall (which will still have large numbers of cars and trucks and people who ignore the signs and drive on it anyway because we do not enforce traffic laws in this city). Then you go a block over and Mission has bus lanes. Go another block over and you have Folsom/Howard, both untamed car-centric roads with bike lanes of varying efficacy attached and buses but no bus lanes. And then there’s the entirely unmitigated highway that is Harrison.

    What are we doing here? Why do we have four streets in a row that all seek to accommodate peds, private autos, bikes, and buses in slightly different degrees of mediocrity instead of an actual plan to build first-class infrastructure for different modes on different streets?

  • p_chazz

    Probably because of the piecemeal approach to planning and because of incremental changes over time. Market Street has had buses and streetcar tracks since time immemorial. When BART went in, the street received a makeover with wide brick sidewalks in the 1970s. Mission Street has had buses since time immemorial, ergo bus lanes. I seem to recall some discussion of moving the Mission Street buses over to Market Street when Better Market Street kicked off some years ago, but that idea died due to lack of support.

    Folsom Street’s bike lanes were the result of demands from bicyclists after the unfortunate death of bicyclist Amelie DeMoullac in 2015. The Howard Street bike lane came about because of pressure on SFMTA from the Bike Coalition. This has morphed into the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project.

    Harrison, because of its proximity to the James Lick Skyway is probably doomed to being a traffic sewer, as is Bryant.

    This iterative approach is how change happens in cities. Grand, overarching plans sound good on paper (or PDF) but they are difficult to implement.

  • RBVanDyke

    I enjoyed your reply. I don’t presume to have the answer to your questions. But part of my attempt to answer will include consideration of the presence of the word “accommodate”. In the beginning there was the status quo. A significant number of active citizens believed that the status quo needed to be shifted. The intertially-minded thought not. So rather than a completely thought out and fully implemented solution, an Offend The Fewest Possible accommodation was made. No one was satisfied…

  • Pedestrian thruway is excellent. It treats walking as transportation, which needs, space, capacity quality of pavement and removal of obstacles..


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