Amanda Drago
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Why You Can’t Drive Through Market Street Anymore

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San Francisco Market Street
San Francisco
Photo: Noahnmf

San Francisco’s Market Street will officially be banning private vehicles on Jan. 29. The prohibition was put in place to help make the city area safer for pedestrians and is set to last indefinitely. 

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The reasoning behind the ban

The ban of private vehicles is just one of the many steps the city is taking to remake the typically busy stretch between Van Ness Avenue and the waterfront. Other changes include reconfiguring pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, bus and bike lanes, and transit boarding areas. The aim of the project is to help increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists on the street.

Since 2014, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reports that each year there are 106 injury collisions on average along Market Street. Of those hurt in the collisions, pedestrians and cyclists hit by vehicles account for three of every five individuals. These collisions have landed five Market Street intersections on San Francisco’s list of top 10 most dangerous intersections.

In addition to potentially reducing collisions, the SFMTA notes that the prohibition could decrease traffic congestion. This would then make it easier for the more than 200 Muni buses that run on the stretch of pavement each hour to accommodate passengers and improve performance.

How this may affect your travels

Starting the morning of Jan. 29, private cars cannot drive on the strip of road going from 10th Street east towards Steuart Street. The only vehicles permitted on Market Street are emergency vehicles, vehicles having commercial license plates, city-regulated taxis, streetcars, paratransit vehicles, and Muni buses.

If you happen to risk driving in the prohibited section while in your private vehicle, you could receive a point on your license and a fine worth $238. Nevertheless, you are able to legally utilize side streets so you can cross Market Street.

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Construction is set to take place on Market Street from 2021 to 2025 to hopefully make the area safer for everyone.