Market Street car restrictions could become permanent 

Those “temporary” automobile restrictions on Market Street (they’ve been in place since September 2009) could officially become permanent.

For the past 17 months, motorists travelling on the eastbound portion of Market Street have been forced to take right hand turns on 10th and Sixth streets. By diverting private automobiles off the busy artery, the Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages traffic in The City, hoped to speed up transit vehicles and make conditions safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

So far, the plan has worked, at least marginally, for Muni vehicles. Since the forced right hand turns were implemented, transit vehicles on Market Street have increased travel speeds by three percent. While that may not sound like a big deal, MTA officials have said that increasing vehicles speed by just 1 mph throughout the system would save the agency $76 million annually.

The automobile restrictions also seem to have a positive impact on bicyclists and pedestrians. According to an August, 2010 report by the Great Streets Project, the number of pedestrians on eastbound Market Street increased by 24 percent compared to 2009 numbers. Cyclists on eastbound market street were up 53 percent over that same time period.

On February 4, the MTA will hold a public hearing to discuss making the changes permanent. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. on the fourth floor of City Hall.


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Will Reisman

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