SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is gearing up for the launch of the Better Market Street project this week, which will eliminate private vehicles on one of the city's busiest streets.
Starting on Wednesday, a more than 2-mile stretch of Market Street will be used only by buses, taxis, bicycles and commercial vehicles, as well as emergency vehicles like police cars and fire trucks.
Back in October, the SFMTA Board of Director unanimously approved the plan, garnering praise from the city's pedestrian and bicycle advocates who had been pushing for the project's approval for years.
Under the first phase of the project, no private vehicles will be allowed to travel along Market Street, eastbound from 10th to Main streets and westbound from Steuart Street to Van Ness Avenue. Private vehicles, however, can still cross Market Street, but turns onto Market Street will be prohibited.
SFMTA Parking Control officers and SFPD officers will be on-hand directing traffic and helping call attention to the new changes this week, according to the SFMTA.
In preparation for Wednesday, Muni crews have already installed signs, created new pedestrian safety zones, added new loading zones and extended Muni lanes down Market Street, SFMTA officials said.
After Wednesday, the SFMTA will begin working on the second phase of the project, to be launched sometime in Spring 2020. That phase would see the extension of bus-only lanes east from Third to Main streets. Taxis and non-Muni buses will no longer be allowed in those lanes.
Additionally, the existing bus/taxi lanes from Third to Ninth streets will become Muni-only. Bicycle intersection improvements will also be made along Market at Eight, Page, Battery and Valencia streets. Afterward, the project's third phase aims to change sections of Ellis and Jones streets near Market to improve safety and vehicle movement. That phase is set to begin in Summer 2020.
The entire project is estimated to cost about $3.5 million. According to SFMTA officials, back in 2018, 123 injury collisions occurred on Market Street alone between Octavia and Steuart streets. More information about the project can be found on the Better Market Street website.