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Speak out to protect the future of Market Street from November 2-13

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Earlier this month, we sounded the alarm bells about what is happening with the Better Market Street plan. The plan, which was approved a year ago and would transform Market into a people-first promenade, is now drastically different than promised. Read more in the San Francisco Examiner

When it comes to pedestrians, we are deeply concerned that what’s now being discussed lacks real safety improvements to intersections. Five of the city’s top ten most dangerous are on Market Street. There’s also no real plan to keep private vehicles off Market. And for people on bikes and using transit, the proposed changes don’t meet the project’s overall goals of greater safety and mobility. 

So please join us in getting these serious concerns addressed. We need to be sure the future of Market Street is one where safety and people are prioritized. 

You can chime in anytime between November 2 – November 13 at an online “open house” at the Better Market Street website; there will also be two virtual public meetings on November 4 and November 9. You can sign up for Walk SF to remind you once the links are live.

Yesterday, we sent a joint letter with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and SF Transit Riders to make clear our concerns to SFMTA Director Tumlin and DPW Director Alaric Degrafinried. You can read it below.

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

Mark Cordes
Executive Director, San Francisco Transit Riders

Jodie Medeiros
Executive Director, Walk San Francisco

Banner image: Kristen Gerencher