Our City’s Thoroughfare is Far Too Dangerous
Market Street is San Francisco’s busiest pedestrian street, with half a million people walking there every day. At the same time, with the highest per-mile crash rate of all streets in San Francisco, it’s one of our most dangerous places to walk especially at many of the cross streets.
The time has come for Market Street to become the grand boulevard it should be for people walking, biking, and taking public transportation – and the crown jewel of the city.
Some Progress on Safety
When the City adopted Vision Zero in 2014, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) chose 24 priority projects to implement in 24 months, including a project to improve Market Street downtown, called Safer Market Street.
This project brought important safety improvements to the street. This included turn restrictions on Market from 3rd to 8th Streets, which reduces traffic on Market and reduces the likelihood of collisions from turns. Safer Market Street also added painted safety zones at key intersections.
In 2016, after Thu Phan was killed crossing 7th and Market, Walk San Francisco and our partners at Senior and Disability Action, Independent Living Resource Center, and the Mayor’s Office on Disability advocated for and won pedestrian head-start signals at seven intersections on Market, including at 7th Street.
A Promising Chance to Truly Transform Market Street
The longer-term project to improve the street – called Better Market Street – is an initiative of five city agencies that has been in the planning stages for many years. The project has incredible potential, but to realize this potential will take all of us advocating for transformative changes every step of the way.
Walk San Francisco believes that the Better Market Street project must include:
- Ample sidewalk space for the 500,000 people walking on Market each day, plus projected pedestrian counts
- Significantly calmed intersections, with bulb-outs and removal of all slip lanes
- Pedestrian scrambles at the busiest intersections
- Clear and detectable separation between the sidewalk-level bike lane and the sidewalk
- Safe crossings across the bike lane to the curb
- The removal of all private vehicles
But a major project like this that has already moved too slowly could easily flounder or even change directions – and we simply can’t let that happen. Plus, we need near-term safety improvements to be installed now, from better crosswalk paint to safer crosswalk signal timing.