A car-free Market Street: so far, it’s working

Cities should be designed for people, not cars.  Now tourists and everyone else can stroll down Market Street in San Francisco and enjoy the experience, ride an historic street car or cable car or take in the history at the United Nations Plaza.

Last week, San Francisco made countless headlines when private vehicles were officially – and permanently – removed from Market Street.

For us at Walk San Francisco, this was an incredible step forward for the 500,000 people who walk on Market Street each day.

We are so proud to have been part of this historic victory, which countless people and nonprofit partners pushed for (and some for a very long time!).

At Walk SF, we see this as a turning point for San Francisco prioritizing safety and people on our streets. Already the conversation has turned to which San Francisco streets should be made car-free next.

But back to Market Street. The morning after Market went car-free, we gathered with almost 100 Walk SF members to experience the entire car-free stretch from Van Ness Avenue to the Ferry Building on foot. Here’s more about what we saw – and felt.

Calmer, quieter, and a lot safer

As we headed east on Market Street from Van Ness, it was easy to get a baseline for what a Market Street with cars feels like: eastbound traffic isn’t fully diverted until 10th Street.

After we crossed 10th Street, it was noticeable how much calmer and quieter Market Street quickly felt. With less traffic, the street space seemed to open up so you could better take in the people, streetcars, and buildings. Instead of the unpredictable chaos of cars on a city street, buses and bikes cruised by.

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