Advocates Hit Back Over ‘Bummer Market Street’ Plan

The city wants to remove key safety features and transit improvements after ten years of outreach, planning and development; advocates say "no way!"

A crash on Market Street, 2016. Private cars are now banned, but taxis, city vehicles, scofflaw motorists who drive down Market anyway, and delivery trucks will continue to put cyclists lives in danger if the city follows through on its "Bummer Market Street" plan. Photo: John Rogers
A crash on Market Street, 2016. Private cars are now banned, but taxis, city vehicles, scofflaw motorists who drive down Market anyway, and delivery trucks will continue to put cyclists lives in danger if the city follows through on its "Bummer Market Street" plan. Photo: John Rogers

Outrage continues in the safe-and-livable-streets community over news that protected bike lanes, Muni improvements, and key pedestrian safety features have been removed from the “Better Market Street” plan approved last year. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the San Francisco Transit Riders, and Walk San Francisco sent a joint letter to SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin and Public Works Acting Director Alaric Degrafinried late Wednesday, strongly opposing the new design, which some advocates have dubbed “Bummer Market Street.”

Read the full letter below, followed by a link to how advocates can help push back against the city bureaucracy.

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Logos

To Directors Jeffrey Tumlin and Alaric Degrafinried:

As representatives of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, SF Transit Riders and Walk San Francisco, we are writing to express our opposition to the revised proposal for Phase 1 of Better Market Street.

One year ago, we made history with Better Market Street’s approval. It took ten years of advocacy and hard work to create a bold plan to transform our city’s most important street to be for the people biking, walking, and traveling on it.

Then the pandemic hit. With budgets slashed and economic recovery in the forefront of everyone’s minds, we understand and empathize with the tough choices the City has to make now. And we acknowledge that Better Market Street needs to be part of the rethinking. However, the revised proposed design no longer meets the project’s safety goals, does not seem to optimize mobility or create the premier cultural, civic and economic center we all envisioned. What we are being shown seems rushed and short-sighted.

We are disappointed that the revised proposal does not adequately serve people with disabilities, our Muni riders, our local businesses, or the tens of thousands of people biking and walking here every day. This revision is a significant step back from the fundamental principles that drove the previous design.

We agree that the project budget must be reduced, and we want to be clear: We are not asking for a return to the original proposal. What we are asking for is a cost-effective design appropriate to our budget realities that still delivers safety benefits, Muni service improvements and public benefits that advocates, stakeholders and the public are on board with. This current proposal does not achieve that.

Yes, there are new constraints. But our City leaders must explore creative ways to overcome these challenges. We must still achieve the vision for Market Street as the grand boulevard and crown jewel it should be, that puts the safety of people first and foremost.

Sincerely,
Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk San Francisco
Mark Cordes, Executive Director, San Francisco Transit Riders

Again, to make yourself heard and comment on the new “plan,” be sure to join the Bummer Market Street virtual open houses.

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