Better Market Street Project Update: 5th to 8th Streets
The Better Market Street project finished its California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review and received project approvals in October 2019. In January 2020, the SFMTA used its Quick-Build program to deliver car-free Market Street, improving safety and making transit more reliable through low-cost improvements such as signage and paint. Better Market Street plans to start the first phase of construction, between 5th and 8th streets, in early 2021.
Due to the impacts on the local economy and our city budgets related to COVID-19 and because of the greater-than-anticipated success of car-free Market Street, our plans for the first phase of construction must change. When private vehicles were removed from Market Street, transit became up to 12% faster and the number of people biking increased by 25% – over 800 people per hour at peak. The original designs for a new sidewalk-level bikeway would not have enough capacity to keep up with the updated demand of people biking on Market Street.
Furthermore, as local businesses work to recover, we need to minimize construction disruptions – especially on the sidewalks in front of their stores. With this new reality in mind, we hosted a series of stakeholder meetings and open houses about changes to the design ideas for phase one.
November 2 – 13, the project will host a virtual open house to share updates with the public. There will also be two virtual public meetings on November 4th at Noon and November 9th at 4:30 p.m. to share project details and hear feedback.
The project goals remain to improve safety, transportation, accessibility, infrastructure and revitalize Market as the city’s preeminent civic space and ceremonial street. The first phase of construction between 5th and 8th streets is focused on four key components:
- Upgrade and replace aging infrastructure like the rails, overhead lines, traffic signals, sewer and water lines, and repave the street
- Build new accessible boarding islands to improve the customer experience, transit functionality and capacity, and new wider curb ramps to upgrade sidewalk accessibility
- Replace unhealthy trees and new street furnishings but postpone replacing the brick sidewalks to minimize disruptions directly in front of local businesses
- Create a bike facility that will safely accommodate more people on bicycles
Graphic: Shared curb lane with new safety treatments propose for the first segment of construction of Better Market Street between 5th and 8th streets. San Francisco Public Works.