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San Francisco Will Be Closing Market Street to Private Vehicles in 2020

Cailey Rizzo

One of the busiest streets of San Francisco will be closed to vehicles starting next year.

Market Street in downtown San Fran will be closed to all private vehicles in an effort to increase the efficiency of the public transit system and increase the general safety of the area.

Buses and taxis will have access to the street while Lyft, Uber and other rideshare platforms will be banned. Passengers will have to walk to pick-up points at side streets to get their rides.

Cars will still be able to cross Market Street at intersections, but drivers who turn on the street will risk a moving violation, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The road closure was a unanimous decision among the Municipal Transportation Agency board this week with the approval of the Better Market Street Project. The over $600 million initiative will significantly cut down vehicular traffic on the busy strip. The project will also widen the bike lanes and make them separate from pedestrian sidewalks with benches, bike racks and planters, according to CityLab.

Market Street sees 500,000 pedestrians and 650 cyclists "every hour during the peak commute," The Chronicle noted, and "its intersections are known for a high number of crashes that injure pedestrians and cyclists."

“Market Street is at the heart of our city, and we need to do everything we can to make it a safer, more livable, and more vibrant place for our residents, workers, and visitors,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Last year, there were 123 injury collisions on Market Street and the majority involved people walking and biking. Better Market Street and the project’s near-term improvements are critical to achieve our Vision Zero goals and ensure everyone can feel safe on our most traveled street.”

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San Francisco is following a major urban trend of cutting back vehicular access to busy downtown streets. Earlier this month, New York City banned cars from 14th Street, making it only accessible to buses, trucks and emergency vehicles. The effort had a near-immediate effect on speeding up bus routes, The New York Times reported.

Additionally, Paris doesn’t allow cars access to the city center one Sunday every month, while cars in London must pay a hefty fine if they wish to access the city center.