If there was a street synonymous with San Francisco, it’s Market Street. It is the everyday backbone of the City, with hundreds of thousands of people traveling along it on foot, bike, bus, or streetcar. It’s where we gather to celebrate our victories and protest injustices.
When Market Street was constructed, there were just over 50,000 people living in the City. Today there are more than 800,000. As we continue to grow, we need Market Street to grow with us and meet the changing needs of a world-class city.
Starting today, over 2 miles of Market Street will become car-free, a historic milestone in the history of San Francisco and in the world-wide movement to create more spaces that are made for people.
More people move on Market Street than any other street in the City. It is past time to return this civic boulevard back to pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders to prioritize people first.
People have talked about making Market Street car-free for decades. This project has been in the works for many years and organizations and individuals, like Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember David Chiu, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Walk San Francisco have dedicated an incredible amount of time and energy to get us where we are today.
Now, we get to see that vision become reality. Making Market Street car-free will make it safer for everyone who uses it while reflecting our transit-first policy as a city and advancing our carbon emissions goals.
I know that many people have waited a long time for these changes, and although some of the elements of the Market Street redesign will take time, we’re getting started right away on parts of it. In the next few months, you’ll see extended Muni-only lanes, new two-way streets, and numerous much-needed safety improvements at intersections.
Last year I pushed for a “quick-build” policy to implement simple, low-cost safety improvements where they’re needed most. The early implementation of car-free Market Street is an example of that policy in practice, so that you’ll soon notice the difference on your commute or as you use Market Street to meet up with friends or run errands.
Since becoming Mayor, I have advocated for safer streets. I pushed for rapid expansion of our protected bike lane network , accelerated implementation of intersection safety improvements, and advocated for state-level policy changes like automated speed enforcement. The immediate changes on Market Street will help us with our ongoing efforts to ensure people are safe on our streets and that our buses and streetcars move more efficiently.
We want these safety, environmental, and transit benefits throughout the City — not just on Market Street — and we will continue to pursue other opportunities, like Octavia Open Street, to create people-first spaces. We are actively planning for a future in which our public spaces are reclaimed for people and where streets and sidewalks are convenient, enjoyable, and safe places to travel and gather.
With this change on Market Street, we are proud to be part of a growing movement of cities around the world who are designing for a more sustainable future. A future in which we prioritize pedestrians and cyclists. A future that is safer for everyone on our streets and more environmentally friendly. This is just the beginning.