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San Francisco Chronicle: Plan to ban cars on part of Market Street

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 08:54 AM
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San Francisco Chronicle: Plan to ban cars on part of Market Street
Cross-posted from the Public Transportation/Smart Growth forum:

Plan to ban cars on part of Market St.
Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

San Francisco -- San Francisco's Market Street from the Embarcadero to Hayes Valley would permanently close to all traffic except for city mass transit vehicles under a proposal announced at City Hall on Tuesday night.

Supervisor Chris Daly asked the city attorney to draft legislation to permanently ban cars on Market Street between Octavia Boulevard and the Embarcadero, an idea that has been floated by various city leaders, including former Mayor Willie Brown, for more than a decade.

Daly said discussion of a proposal by Mayor Gavin Newsom to close portions of city streets, including a large stretch of the Embarcadero, on two Sundays this year prompted his action.

"It's the city's grand boulevard," Daly said. "Why don't we go for the gold?"

Closing the 2.3-mile portion of Market Street would open the often-congested roadway to pedestrians and cyclists, though Daly said there would still need to be places where cars and other vehicles could cross.

He said the traffic that now relies on that roadway could shift to Mission, Howard and Folsom streets to the south.

In addition to this proposal, the Municipal Railway is currently considering a plan to make major improvements to transit on Market Street and throughout the city. Another idea that has been floated would redesign stretches of the street to create distinct bicycle lanes.

Brown's vision of banning private automobiles on Market Street faced strong opposition from the business community and never materialized. Daly's proposal will face multiple hurdles at City Hall, including approval from the full board and Newsom, before it can be enacted.

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