Feb 7, 2023 - News

Market Street's major revamp breaks ground

Bicyclists and pedestrians on Market Street

Bicylists and pedestrians on Market Street. Photos: Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The city's main thoroughfare is getting a major facelift.

What's happening: Construction crews broke ground Monday on a plan over 10 years in the making to upgrade Market Street and improve safety conditions along the busy stretch.

Why it matters: Market Street is a notorious hotspot for traffic accidents, and it accounts for some of the most dangerous intersections in the city for pedestrians, bicycles and motorists alike.

  • San Francisco Public Works also said the corridor hasn't had a major improvement since the 1970s — when BART was added.

Details: This week marks the start of the project's first phase, which covers the section of Market Street between 5th and 8th streets.

  • Upgraded traffic signals, sidewalk "bulb-outs" at intersections and ADA-compliant curb ramps will be added as safety improvements, along with replacing hazardous sidewalks and repaving curb lanes.
  • The city will also install new trees, benches and bike racks.
  • Phase 1 is expected to be completed by April 2024 and cost $60 million.

What they're saying: "It really is like a once-in-a-generation project to make Market Street the beautiful corridor that it deserves to be," Cristina Olea, who's managing the project for San Francisco Public Works, told KQED.

Flashback: The initiative actually kicked off back in January 2020 when the city closed off private car traffic from Market Street's downtown stretch.

  • The pandemic delayed further construction until now.

Yes, but: The project is scaled back from the version approved in 2019, which included an 8-foot-wide, sidewalk-level bike lane.

  • Instead, bicyclists will continue to share the road with taxis, delivery trucks and others.
  • The SF Bicycle Coalition said last week on Twitter that it's "still advocating to see robust bike infrastructure added back into the Better Market Street plan."

Zoom out: Overall, the $600 million project will touch 2.2 miles of Market Street from the freeway entrance near Octavia Boulevard to Steuart Street near the Embarcadero.

What's next: Phase 2, which will include a new turnaround loop for the F line streetcars near 7th Street, is anticipated to start in late 2025.

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