The Great Market Street Detour Under Way

By Bob Redell
|  Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009  |  Updated 6:50 AM PDT
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The new rule does not apply to streetcars, delivery trucks, taxis, bicycles or any vehicles headed in the westbound direction.

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San Francisco began its experiment this week to make Market Street less congested and more friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians.

On Tuesday,  drivers heading eastbound down Market toward the Ferry Building must exit at 8th and 6th streets.

Police are at those intersections to make sure drivers take the right turn off the main drag or face a $167 fine. You will be able to get back on Market at 5th and any streets east of that.

The new rule does not apply to streetcars, delivery trucks, taxis, bicycles or any vehicles headed in the westbound direction.

The restrictions are part of a six-week pilot program the City launched to improve the vibe along Market Street and bring it back to life, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists. Plans for sidewalk cafes, new open spaces, landscaping improvements and colored bicycle lanes are already in the works

The City hopes it will also improve the drive times for the several Muni bus lines that travel up and down the main thoroughfare.

Officials will be monitoring traffic on Market and south of Market to see how the plan is going and whether it's worth continuing.

For years, politicians and activists have talked about banning all cars down Market, but merchants were concerned about what that would do to their business. This is the compromise both sides came up with.

This is one of those San Francisco treats that fits right into our interactive feature, So Bay, which gives you the power of sharing news and Bay Area moments as they happen. Check it out, sign up, share! You can also leave a comment below.

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