Marketbikelane.jpgA pilot program that requires vehicles to turn right at spots along San Francisco’s Market Street could be made permanent in the coming months, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials said today.

Vehicles traveling on Market Street have required right turns at Sixth and 10th streets, which are part of a 2009 experiment to stop traffic from driving all the way down Market Street and improve conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and taxis.

“These minor modifications have produced real results and have contributed to making Market Street more inviting,” SFMTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford said in a statement.

The program, which began in late September 2009, initially forced a right turn for vehicles on Market and Sixth streets, and Market and Eighth streets. By November, traffic had been reduced on some parts of the street by more than 50 percent, an agency report said.

The average hourly traffic volume on eastbound Market Street east of Eighth Street declined by about 130 vehicles per hour, or 54 percent. The decline was much less, about 5 percent, for traffic approaching Montgomery Street on Market Street, according to the report.

The report also concluded that eastbound Muni vehicles on Market Street saved about 50 seconds on trips in the morning peak commute and midday hours.

Traffic on other streets, such as Mission Street, increased by as much as 15 percent.
When the intersections were shifted to Sixth and 10th streets, average travel time decreased on Muni by more than 3 percent. Bicycling on eastbound Market Street also increased substantially, officials said.

The SFMTA will hold a public hearing on Feb. 4 to make the required right turns permanent. The 10 a.m. hearing will be in City Hall’s room 416 at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.

Following the hearing, the proposal will be heard by the SFMTA Board of Directors for approval.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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