Market Street Car Ban Considered

San Francisco thoroughfare could become haven for buses, bicycles and pedestrians

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Richard Masoner
    A car encroaches on the lane intended for bicyclists in a typical scene on Market Street

    With the Department of Public Works looking to repave Market Street, the location transportation authority has commissioned a study looking at the impact of restricting or banning cars on the broad thoroughfare that bisects the city.

    Currently street cars, buses, cars, bicyclists and pedestrians jostle for room to move and the going can be slow.

    San Francisco has been struggling with ways to deal with downtown traffic, even posing the idea of a toll zone downtown like London's.

    The idea of restricting cars along Market was first proposed by former mayor Willie Brown.

    A spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom said the mayor is open to the idea, as long as it doesn't effect businesses.

    Transportation has become a major concern in dealing with problems like global warming, since private automobiles are responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions.

    The mayor's answer has been to urge more electric vehicles and hybrids like his hybrid Chevy Tahoe.

    San Francisco has also struggled with high pedestrian fatalities in accidents involving cars, amounting to dozens every year. Fights between bicyclists and drivers have also cropped up along Market Street. I doubt it hurts any less when you find yourself under the wheels of a Prius or Tesla rather than a gas-guzzler.

    Plans for more pedestrian-friendly approaches to traffic management have also cropped up in Fisherman's Wharf, and the Planning Commission has held public meetings around plans to improve Cesar Chavez street in the Mission district. Photo by Richard Masoner.

    Jackson West is openly anti-car.