Ban on private vehicles on section of San Francisco's Market Street draws closer

With less than a week before a major change on well-traveled Market Street in San Francisco, workers could be seen at 2nd Street and Market painting the pavement to indicate where drivers will no longer be allowed to turn. 

Currently, motorists are allowed to make a right on the road at that location but next week, some big changes will be implemented. 

"SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) crews have been on scene painting those red lanes to let motorists know that they can't turn onto Market," said SFMTA spokeswoman Erica Kato. 

Starting on Wednesday Jan. 29, only certain types of vehicles will be allowed on westbound Steuart Street to Van Ness Avenue and eastbound traffic from 10th to Main streets. 

"Delivery trucks that have six wheels, Muni, and other transit agencies, taxis, and commercial vehicles will be able to use that stretch of Market," said Kato. 

Ride share vehicles including those with Uber and Lyft will also be banned from this portion of the street. 

The vehicle ban is designed to ease congestion for the estimated 200 buses an hour during peak times that city officials say drive on Market Street.

Safety for the roughly 500,000 that walk the thoroughfare every day is also said to be behind the changes.

“Market Street averages over a hundred serious collisions a year so we’re trying to reduce conflicts with vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians,” Kato said. 

Eight so-called safety zones – essentially a temporary extension of sidewalks now exist along the new restricted route to create a larger buffer between pedestrians and vehicles that are still allowed to cross Market St.

Also, SFMTA will add additional bicycle intersection improvements, adding “100 new cross-street passenger and commercial loading zones to accommodate safe loading.”

The changes to Market St. is just one in a series of changes that SFMTA said will deliver Muni reliability improvements over the comings years.