Market Street Look Ahead: Evaluation & Final Turn Restrictions

by Kate Elliott : sfmta – excerpt

It’s been more than two months since the turn restrictions went into effect on Market Street, but the SFMTA is still hard at work making it safer as implementation continues for the Safer Market Street project.

On July 31, just before the turn restrictions went into effect, our paint crews began adding to the red transit-only lanes on Market Street. To date, we have completed the red lanes on Market from 8th to O’Farrell streets and extended or added transit-only lanes on 3rd, 7th and O’Farrell streets.

The lanes on O’Farrell and 7th streets were in response to feedback and will help improve bus service on those streets. When the project wraps up at the end of November, it will have added more than two miles of red transit-only lanes to our streets – a 25 percent increase.

Up Next: Evaluation and the Final Turn Restriction
Our work, however, is far from over. SFMTA staff will continue to monitor and make adjustments. In March, after everyone has adjusted to the traffic changes, the project team will conduct an extensive evaluation to see if Safer Market Street is meeting its objectives – the primary one being safer conditions on Market Street. As part of the evaluation, staff will analyze economic impacts, crime, collisions, transit performance and congestion.

The evaluation will use three tools:

  • NextBus data
  • Transit speed data generated via a tool recently created in-house by one of our traffic engineers
  • Real-time traffic flow data sourced from road sensors and navigation data from Inrix

The evaluation of Safer Market Street will be the first time we use real-time traffic flow data in its analysis. Check in next summer for the results!

The public feedback about the turn restrictions, congestion and compliance via 311, email, and social media has been a huge help to the project. The team is working with traffic enforcement and the paint and sign shops to make changes.

Two final turn restrictions at 5th and Ellis streets have yet to be implemented. This last piece will not be put in place until the Central Subway project reopens Ellis Street this winter. Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming implementation of the final turn restrictions on our project page: https://www.sfmta.com/safermarketst.

Creating a Grand Boulevard
Safer Market Street will help bring us closer to the city’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities. But Market Street needs to be more than a transportation route—it needs to be the city’s most vibrant public space.

Its sister project, Better Market Street, now in the environmental review phase, will completely redesign Market Street from The Embarcadero to Octavia Boulevard, making it safer and more pleasant for everyone. Beyond turn restrictions and red transit-only lanes, the Better Market Street project will provide new and improved infrastructure for people walking, biking and taking transit and transform Market Street into the grand boulevard it should be… (more)

It goes without saying that this is the most hideously ugly thing SFMTA has done to the streets so far. And that is saying a lot. Any idea what chemicals are used in the paint and how does it break down as it mixes with air and water and who knows what? One assumes the paint will be washed into the city gutters and get into the system that is flushed into the Bay or ocean. How often will the streets require re-painting? What percentage of the very thin maintenance budget will this take up?
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