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History made for Market Street and San Francisco!

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For close to ten years, we have been imagining and advocating for a different kind of Market Street.

A Market Street that really feels like our city’s Main Street. A Market Street that is a welcoming space for people rather than a throughway for vehicles. A Market Street that is one of the city’s safest places for people walking, not one of its most dangerous.

And now, a people-first Market Street is finally going to happen.

The historic decision to remove private vehicles from Market Street by early 2020 made headlines, and represents a turning point for prioritizing people on San Francisco’s streets.

Here at Walk San Francisco, we are proud and elated that the SFMTA Board of Directors unanimously passed the Better Market Street plan on Tuesday.

This means private vehicles will be restricted on Market Street from the Ferry Building to Octavia Boulevard by early 2020, plus a host of other transformative changes will break ground in 2021 (including safer intersections; half of the city’s deadliest ones are on Market Street).

This is huge. And I believe the passage of the Better Market Street plan represents a turning point for our city in truly prioritizing people on our streets.

The broad support for the plan, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as having “undiluted support from just about everyone,” is also significant. If we can continue to build a broad movement for safer streets, we can really move the needle. This means winning not only more car-free spaces, but the kind of policies needed to make walking the preferred way to get around for many, many more trips.

Walk SF will work tirelessly to build upon this week’s Market Street victory so that this is just the beginning for safe, people-first, climate-friendly streets. There’s no reason San Francisco shouldn’t be the most pedestrian-friendly city in the country. Let’s get there!

And of course we’ll continue to watchdog Better Market Street, especially in terms of getting private vehicles removed ASAP. Major changes to traffic patterns like this will not be easy, and will require city agencies to work in unison for a smooth and safe transition (with enforcement support from the SF Police Department).

Onto the Next Wins

We also must quickly achieve more wins like a car-free Market Street. We need to pass Prop D – the tax on Uber and Lyft – on Election Day. We must keep watchdogging SFPD’s enforcement so that efforts are focused on the most dangerous streets. And it’s time to go big in our push for lower speeds citywide.

Walk SF can’t take on all this without you. We need your voice, and we need your financial support. Only together can we win the safe, climate-friendly, people-first streets we want. So if you want more wins like Market Street, make a gift to Walk SF today.

So Many to Thank!

This historic win on Market Street is because of the vision and efforts of so many.

A big thanks to all of our wonderful Walk San Francisco members. You have supported our advocacy work, plus done so much advocacy of your own: attending community meetings and hearings, sending emails to elected and agency officials, and standing with us on the steps of City Hall. This win would not have happened without your voices and support.

Thanks also to our partners in the safe streets movement, especially the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Our gratitude also goes out to the many city leaders and staff who have been part of designing and passing such a strong plan for Market Street.  Many thanks to Mayor London Breed for her leadership on Market (read her letter of support); the Better Market Street project staff from the Department of Public Works and SFMTA; car-free Market Street champions on the SFMTA Board of Directors, especially Malcolm Heinicke, who deeply believes in car-free spaces; and SF Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, whose team leads the project.