Drivers’ forced right turn on Market Street to swap blocks 

The intersection location for one of the forced right-hand turns for cars on Market Street will be relocated less than four months after The City began its experiment with automobile restrictions on the thoroughfare.

Since Sept. 29, private automobiles traveling eastbound on Market Street have been forced to turn right on Eighth and Sixth streets, a move that has reduced traffic congestion on the artery and allowed Muni vehicles to travel more efficiently.

However, the intersection at Eighth Street has resulted in conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists and motorists making the right-hand turn from Market Street.

As a result, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Municipal Transportation Agency, who have headed up efforts for the project, will move the forced right-hand turn two blocks away, to 10th Street, starting Jan. 26.

Unlike the intersection at Eighth Street, the 10th Street locale has a continuous bike lane, made possible because it is one of the few spots on Market Street without a Muni boarding island. The 10th Street intersection also has less foot traffic, which should result in fewer pedestrian conflicts, MTA officials said.

“This pilot project takes a measured approach to improving conditions for transit customers and pedestrians,” MTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford said. “Adjusting the pilot will provide us with additional information to shape our collective decisions about Market Street’s future.”

The MTA will experiment with the forced right-hand turns on 10th Street for six weeks, at which time it will evaluate the effectiveness of the new location and determine whether to extend the study.

The automobile restrictions on Market Street are part of a larger overall plan to revive The City’s central boulevard. Other improvements on the street include more public plazas, artwork in vacant storefronts and additional outdoor seating areas.

“We have an incredible opportunity to make Market Street into one of the greatest streets in the world,” Newsom said. “We must be innovative about our strategies and achieving this vision.”

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Will Reisman

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