Tomorrow marks the start of San Francisco’s six week pilot program aimed at reducing eastbound traffic on Market Street. The plan will force private vehicles traveling eastbound to turn at Eighth Street and Sixth Street or face fines.Here’s the map of the changes from the MTA.

Mayor Newsom has branded the project as a way to both free up downtown congestion and promote pedestrian and automotive safety, though, In a characteristic Newsomism, he told reporters, “Can it get much worse than it is today for the typical driver…if it does, get much worse, the pilot will end–we’ll own up to it and move on.”

Approaching the Ferry Building all eastbound traffic will first be “encouraged” to turn right onto Tenth Street. Cars that opt not to do so will be required to turn at Eighth Street. From there they can choose to take Mission, Folsom, or any other parallel eastbound street. Cars that turn back onto Market at Seventh Street will be required to turn back off at Sixth. From Sixth on, all eastbound traffic is “discouraged” but not prohibited. Failure to comply will result in a fine of $167. Critics worry that driving traffic to Mission and Folsom will make those already overtaxed streets even less manageable, especially during peak bridge hours.

The pilot program will not effect westbound traffic, and eastbound pedestrians, cyclists, public transit, taxis, emergency vehicles, and delivery vehicles will still have full access to Market Street.

(Editor’s note: This paragraph has been changed since publication because my edits didn’t do justice to the reporter’s original remarks, changes are in italic — eb)
My perspective: If you really want to make downtown commute safer, you need to deal with more than just auto traffic. The city should work more closely with the San Francisco Bike Coalition to encourage all riders to participate in bicycle safety and urban ridership workshops. (This correspondent also supports the institution and enforcement of a helmet law for bicyclists.) Any pedestrian, driver, or passive observer the myriad of bicyclers who display an almost complete disregard for traffic laws, pose a significant hazard to transportation in San Francisco — and that this disregard is highly prevalent along that stretch of Market Street.

The San Francisco government encourages commuters to send their thoughts and opinions about the project to 311, by email at, or commenting on the upcoming Market Street Facebook page.

More information about the pilot can be found here.

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