San Francisco Pol Wants to Ban Cars on Market Street

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that City Supervisor Chris Daly wants to ban cars from part of Market Street.  While transit would still be able to traverse the 2.3 mile stretch between Octavia Boulevard and the Embarcadero all privately owned passenger vehicles would be banned.

Daly says that the idea of closing Market Street came from the popularity of temporary street closures that Mayor Gavin Newsome is proposing.

Daly said discussion of a
proposal by Mayor Gavin Newsom to close portions of city streets,
including a large stretch of the Embarcadero, on two Sundays this year
prompted his action.

"It’s the city’s grand boulevard," Daly said. "Why don’t we go for the gold?"

Closing the 2.3-mile portion of Market Street would open the
often-congested roadway to pedestrians and cyclists, though Daly said
there would still need to be places where cars and other vehicles could

Hopefully the reaction in the comments section isn’t reflective of the overall mood of the populace towards street closures.  Most of the 590 comments on the Chronicle story are less than supportive.  Car free streets may be popular with the reform advocates and cyclists,
but if the reaction of the Chronicle’s readers is any indication, they
have a long way to go before catching on with mainstream America.Some examples from the first page of comments:

Excellent! This way, business on Market will dry up, and all the cars
will just end up on side streets anyway causing evey more traffic
headaches. I can’t think of a better idea.


Yet another example of why we need to make the board of supervisors
position a part time job. These imbiciles have too much time on their
hands so they come up with worthless legislation. Mission, Howard and
Folsom Streets are already quite busy so the idea of diverting traffic
to those streets is only more absurd. I suppose if one were to bad
automobiles on Market Street, it would only make sense to ban bicycles
since they are equally reckless in the face of pedestrians.

Photo: Kurt Rogers/San Francisco Chronicle

  • Seems like it could work. Most people with a destination on market street are taking some form of public transit anyway. Widening the sidewalks and giving more room to cafes and businesses along that street could be a HUGE boon to the portion of market that borders the tenderloin. That area really needs the help.

  • Marcotico

    I read through the SFGATE (SF Chronicle website) blog comments. We all think that the Bay Area is some sort of multi-modal paradise, but they have their own Nimby’s up there complaining about this. Of course all the SF insiders know that you shouldn’t take Market to get anywhere anyways. They would still need to do a lot of work to re-stripe the street for transit and bikes, as the pavement is a mess of tracks, storm drains, manhole covers, and cracked pavement. Best of luck to them.

  • They should do this in DTLA. Possibly on 4th St from the Westside (around Beverly/Vermont) to the Eastside (Lorena) using the true East/West definition not the Westside centric one :-P

    Public transit would be exempt of course, no personal vehicles though. Then we can start looking at Van Ness/Wilton to South LA!

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    You should understand that the Chronicle’s subscriber base is heavily biased towards the East Bay, Peninsula, and Marin. It’s not widely read in the city, so you can’t really take their articles on urban planning seriously. They do a lot of cheerleading for the cause of the exurban commuter, which means driving.

    I personally feel that closing Market to cars would have little to no effect. There are already very few cars on the indicated stretch of Market. Normally there are more bicycles than cars during rush hour. The transit delays are caused primarily by “blocking the box” by crossing traffic and transit operations themselves. Enforcement of traffic laws against box-blockers and other red light runners at Montgomery/2nd, Kearny/3rd, and Battery/1st could help.

    See this photograph for example of Market-clogging motorists who aren’t on Market at all:

  • Steven

    “it would only make sense to ban bicycles as well since there equally as wreckless…” what an idiot! when was the last time you saw a bicycle kill a pedestrian?

  • Anonymous

    I know someone who suffered a skull fracture, memory loss, and will never smell anything again, because of a cyclist. It wasn’t the bike that hit her, though, it was the dude who hit something else then slammed into her as he went over the handlebars.


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