Speaking of designs for Market Street, this afternoon San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee will hear a proposal to construct separated bicycle lanes on Mission Street rather than on Market as originally proposed and discuss how diverting bicycles to Mission is “in the best interest of the City and San Francisco’s Better Market Street Project.”
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
I would say Mission is the better choice…just a minor one block jog up/down to Market at South VanNess. Plus it picks up all the Mission district bikers from Valencia etc.
not so sure about that. I think having our central corridor showing a strong bike bias is an important part of changing the cultural expectations around transportation. Besides, it makes for a more pleasant street for all the pedestrians.
Shove the cars “one short block” over to mission where there can be ugly and stinky and dangerous to everyone.
My favorite joke of a bike lane is Portola, upper Market, where the SFMTAIN’T took whole lanes out for bikes. I have never seen a single cyclist up there. If they start mucking around with Mission (which is already mucked pretty badly because of the dedicated bus lanes with few busses on them), it becomes a “give them enough rope and they hang themselves” situation. Which has been the status quo now for a few years: one huge embarrassment after another courtesy of the anti-car nuts.
Re Bike Lanes on Portala…it may look like a joke, but this is a case of where there is so much right of way, that it is not a big issue to preserve some for bikes. And since the connection IS important for bikers trying to traverse that area (although granted the volume isn’t large), and the conditions were freeway-style dangerous, the miniscule investment in protecting bikes is well worth it in my opinion. There’s still tons of right-of-way available for traffic.
I still don’t see the logic in putting the lanes on Mission. The rest of the lanes are up Market into the wiggle, etc., in upper Market… Mission St. has parking, less destinations and worse traffic. Why go through this?
Uggh… is that a rendering of Market? It looks just like Powell, which now has that distinct Disneyland feel. And the red carpet lanes? Hideous. Have you seen Church lately?
They should ban private cars on Market St.
“Changing the cultural expectations around transportation”…it is this type of thinking that is keeping SF in the stone ages when it comes to transit.
A city needs to ADAPT to how the PEOPLE DECIDE to commute. SF tries to ADAPT the PEOPLE to the CITY’S DECISION of how to commute.
Biking is inexpensive and completely doable given the current infrastructure. And yet very few people in the younger demographic choose to bike. They also choose to forgo the bus. The younger generation, which is the future of SF to begin with, has spoken incredibly clearly they expect transportation to be fast, efficient, and reliable. And yet they are not driving their own cars. They virtually all use Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber.
So, the “cultural expectations” of public transport, which are decided by the CULTURE, and not the CITY, are that transportation should be fast and reliable. Bikes are never going to be the future for the majority of the city.
Now, I do support safer bike lanes, and Mission seems like a better location. Market is supposed to be the grand boulevard, the central street, of the city as a whole, and it is quickly developing from the Castro to the Tenderloin. Bikes are not appropriate here.
I cycle down Market street on the way to the FiDi, but Mission is my commute back. Hills are the main reason. For people living around the Valencia corridor, Eureka Valley, the Castro, NV, going down Market is no issue, but the flat route back is Mission, McCoppin, Valencia, then wherever you can find a flat street.
Taking Market back up brings you to the Valencia left turn which works OK since the dedicated traffic light but can be intimidating.
Cars are usually racing up Mission, swerving between the car lane and the under-utilized Muni lane. Bikes are decently safe in the Muni lane, even though the occasional bus blocks the intersection for cyclists one block out of 2. There’s room for improvement.
They virtually all use Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber.
That’s your personal choice and probably the one of a few people around you. Do not assume it to be a generality. Get out of your bubble once in a while.
Biking on Market is a disaster right now because the smallest vehicles (bikes) are forced to share lanes with the largest vehicles (buses) with no options for passing or avoiding. The streetcar tracks down the center don’t help either. Mission is calm and free flowing by comparison. If the McCoppin/Valencia connection were improved, that could handle the connection to the rest of Market. The idea that Market has symbolic value holds us back from better practical solutions.
if the idea of this is to be hip, mission makes more sense – it’s already prettied up in many places. though I agree it’s going to be crazy driving on it.
market is depressing even in the “nice” portions -you’ve got depressin industrial facades, darkness/shadows as a result of being set so deep under these buildings and hordes of homeless, crazies, vagabonds, etc. adding nice bike lanes will not do much to change that feel.
They’re seriously considering losing a lane of public transit to accommodate bicycles?
@lol – I use MUNI, unless I need to get somewhere quickly, in which case I do indeed use UberTaxi.
How old are you? Are you in your 20s? I am, and it is not a “bubble”…Uber/Lyft/Sidecar are used by literally, and I do mean literally, every single person I know in that age bracket. Not just once in a while, but for most, virtually whenever they need to get around. This occurs from the Mission, Western Addition, Marina/Cow Hollow, North Beach, Russian Hill, SOMA, the Sunset…if you are under 30, and living in the Northeast portion of the city, you are using one of those three (if not all three) apps.
Oh dear. Here we go again.
@BigV: Right. This idea will make Market St. safer for pedestrians. Hang out on Market St. any given time of day and notice how many cyclists abide by the traffic laws.
BTW-love the kids biking past the Check Cashing store. Also, the rendering didn’t include the homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes. Let’s keep it real, folks.
Simply stand at Market and 8th at 9AM and see the 100s of 20-somethings cycling past you. Or Valencia, etc…
The sky is depressing.
Personally I don’t really care which street it’s on as long is it’s an improvement on the current cycling infrastructure.
But if we are talking about moving something off Market St. it should be cars, as Market is a nightmare to drive on. I never drive on market if at all possible, you are constantly stuck behind buses and trolleys, no left turns… it’s just way more convenient and much faster to drive on one of the nearby parallel streets, like Mission, Howard, or Folsom. I guess once you get souoth of the Mission / Van Ness / Market intersection it becomes bearable.
Plus moving cars off Market would have vast improvements for bus speeds, where they currently can slow to a crawl.
Mission doesn’t make much sense to me from a cycling perspective. if you are going South the obvious route is Market to Valencia. If you are going west, it’s Market to the Wiggle. Going North or East it’s all downhill so it doesn’t really matter if it’s Market or Mission.
@JWS — really? you are saying that the young don’t bike? You are the first person to ever claim that. Most people are busy moaning that biking is only for the young.
of course, both views are wrong — many people of all ages bike around the city.
Generally it is the fastest way to get around. It is always faster than muni. And, if you consider the time needed to get picked up, it is often faster than lyft/uber/etc unless you are going longer distances. (realistically, most trips are local)
And — most of the folks I know in their 20’s and 30’s bike on a daily basis.
The rendering is missing the angry hipster yelling at that mom for letting her kids take up space in the bike lane.
Oh, and of course the PediCab blocking the entire width of the lane like they do on the Embarcadero.
@JWS wrote: “How old are you? Are you in your 20s? I am, and it is not a “bubble”…Uber/Lyft/Sidecar are used by literally, and I do mean literally, every single person I know in that age bracket.”
What a joke. Maybe “every single person [you] know in that age bracket” uses Uber/Lyft/Sidecar because you know a small demographic of people with lots of disposable income and no obligations. Most people cannot afford to take a cab every time they step out of their house. Dude, you are so in a bubble it is unbelievable.
OK, then I think we have found the young counterpart to futurist. Instead of the german SUV it’s the 20-something whose Uber limo routinely blocks the Valencia bike lane. Darn cyclists who get in the way of their luxurious rides.
I bike commute to downtown everyday (though not along the Market). I think this out of the box thinking makes whole lot of sense. It will be a smoother corridor because there are less intersections and less pedestrians. With 4 travel lanes and 2 parking lanes, there are also most space than the Market to work the design. Also there are no Muni platforms, and no historical XX to deal with.
The bicycle communities’ mind seems to rather anchored on Market St. It is the “bicycle st” and they expect the Market St plan to improve the cycling infrastructure. This is a great surprise to them and I think somehow prevent them from evaluating it on merit alone.
^ Very true. But I do see quite a few cyclists on my route up Mission to McCoppin. But not as many as what I see in the morning on Market. The bus lanes and the cars zooming past at 35MPH+ can be intimidating.
Even if there is no car on Market it still won’t be easy to add bike path on the entire length. Muni is using both lanes, plus there are delivery trucks. You’ll find a lot of place like in the picture where there is simple no room to add a wide bike land like it is envisioned in the picture.
I forgot to post the link of the picture
If you find it intimidating to bike on Mission, that’s because nothing has done to accommodates bicycles today. The point of the proposal to build something like a separated bike lane so that it will no longer be intimidating.
I bike every day up and down market and agree that something needs to be changed. However, its already such a nightmare for cars on Market why not consider moving private cars off Market say from Van Ness north? That would free up clogged traffic for muni, create a safer space for bicyclists and pedestrians, and help funnel car traffic to more equipped streets to handle that capacity.
Wai Yip Tung,
That was precisely my point. I take it each and every day, but I understand why I do not see many cyclists today.
Another benefit of a bike path on Mission would be a much easier connection to the Embarcadero. Right now cyclists down Market Street face one challenge after another, like the “wtf should I do now” Google Maps picture you posted, the treacherous tracks, the turn at Justin Herman Plaza, the weird angles of north-south crossings, etc, etc… Mission Street is worth a detour on the bike plan (pun intended).
I’m another of those who bike up and down Market every day from the Panhandle to the 1st Street.
A lot of people who get to Market Street now join at McAllister. I find that unless you actually ride through the panhandle you don’t take Oak/Wiggle to downtown. You either take Fulton or Golden Gate.
Then it depends on whether you want to go to the Financial District or to Soma – People going to FiDi won’t want to cycle down to Mission.
Market would be many times better without private cars. As others have said, it is the worst street to actually drive on in a car. Getting nowhere fast.
There is also the fact that there is currently no ‘easy’ way to get from Valencia to Mission Street.
What is the perceived benefit of moving the bikes off of Market? Private cars will not be pleased with Bikes on Mission. I feel that if there are going to be more bikes on Mission traffic calming measures will be needed, as currently cars zip by at 30-45mph (I have taken Mission on my bike, I do also own a car, and if I am driving downtown I like Mission St best).
I don’t think less Bikes on Market will help Muni flow better, as Muni has it’s own issues.
Moving the bikes off Market would mainly benefit the bikes. Market is so dominated by Muni, and confusing turn lanes for cars, that the bike lanes are always shared with large, chaotic traffic. Mission patterns are straightforward and the street is currently underutilized, as opposed to Market which is over-used. I much prefer biking on Mission because cars & bikes are share the road better than buses, and the intersections are more predictable.
Now, there’s the issue of left turns, which apply to Market or Mission alike. While riding, I always favor “merging” with the cross traffic when they have the red light (pull to the right along the crosswalk then turn my bike 90 degrees left at the curb), then wait for their turn to go green. But I see a ton of cyclists just cutting at the pedestrian crosswalk at a red light to get to Grant or Kearny or Sansome. Many end up riding a few yards on the sidewalk, which is illegal and dangerous for pedestrians.
If only we had space for Hook turns!
So how many people would not be bicycling or taking Uber/Sidecar/cabs if MUNI actually worked?
Folks, this is a city. We all need to use the streets and sidewalks whether you are a pedestrian, bicylist, bus driver, street car conductor or single car driver. But clearly, the way Market and Mission Streets are currently designed are dysfunctional.
What about redesigning Market Street one way going Westbound to Van Ness and Mission Street Eastbound at Van Ness? Creating a circular downtown loop that could accomodate bike lanes, muni lanes and another for the street cars? At least the flow of traffic would be in one direction rather than battling for a lane. The timing of lights could also ease the flow of all traffic.
This traffic loop would also tie the Old Financial District to the developing SOMA into a more cohesive high density urban center.
People are not really zeroes and ones. For most SF-ers, it’s not Muni OR cycling OR car option. It’s “for trip A, Muni is the best, for trip B, cycling is the best, for trip C, driving is the best” Plus there are the dimensions of weather, external events, personal choice.
What matters is that ALL transit options are offered by being made safe and practical. Cycling can take some pressure from Muni and car congestion and doesn’t create much nuisance. It should be encouraged, imho. And the bangs for the bucks is huge per cyclist.
But I agree Muni should be improved. We need massive investment to catch up with NY or London or Paris.
You can’t ban private cars on Market St. because the intersections don’t line up properly. It would shatter the traffic patterns in all of downtown. For the same reason, making it one-way wouldn’t work because you can’t simply go a block further to make your turn.
Keeping bikes off Market is a good idea. Bike lanes on Mission St. would be great and more bike lanes north of market would help too. What would also be nice is if the SFPD would actually enforce cyclists’ blatant disregard for red light, stop signs and sideWALKs.
And why do we need that damn street car when there’s a subway underneath?
BART stations – Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell and Civic Center – are located on Market Street. Lots of cyclists use BART to commute. Separated bike lanes need to be on Market.
Both Page and the Wiggle connect to Market. Lots of cyclists use those routes between the west and the east side of the city. Separated bike lanes need to be on Market.
Moving the bike lanes to Mission doesn’t make any sense at all.
The BART argument does not make sense. Vast majority of bikes on Market St do not connect to BART. For the tiny percentage of bikes that do, they can easily swing one block to get to BART. The Valencia bike lane is also one block from Mission St. I have never heard anyone complain about this.
Riding a bike one block over is not difficult. Separated bike lanes do not need to be on Market.
Not everything needs to be on Market.
I would just wish that SFMTA would make Muni a functional transit system rather than the 3rd world system it currently is. Concentrate it’s efforts on improving Muni for most of the people coming to work in downtown. Also issue more cab permits so people will be able to relie on cab’s more often, thus limiting the need to drive into downtown. There are many business folks and shoppers who have to go downtown with multiple appointments and cycleing is not an option. SFMTA transit planners (are they really schooled in transit planning or just have jobs with SFMTA?) need to stop hanging out with Leah and her friends that all flock to Dolores Park on weekends like lemmings because they all think they are so “hip” Can’t wait for them to grow up and start families and for the current bicycle mania just goes away.
The mom in the rendering should have her kids taken away by child protective services. Any parent who would let their kid ride on Market Street has serious mental deficiencies. Might as well let the kids play Russian roulette.
^ anon, this raises an interesting question: kids ARE allowed to ride their bike on any street that is not a freeway, but why is it not advisable for them to do so? Is the motorist’s time more valuable than the freedom of others to safely use the street they also paid for? Our society has reluctantly answered yes.
This shows many people are in a bind, stuck with commutes with no other option than a personal motorized vehicle, that they have to hog everyone’s resources to so. The economy cannot run without cars.
If anything, your comment calls for more transit options, including better Muni, regional rail and encouraging human-powered transportation. Build as many bike paths as physically possible. Make dedicated bus lanes. Expand underground transportation.
To Wai Yip Tung:
More people commuting between SF and the East Bay will be using a combination of bike and BART when BART authorizes bikes on BART at any time from July 1st to the end of November. By the way, there are already lots of people biking to BART.
One block is a big deal if this block is used by fast moving traffic and doesn’t have a bike lane. There should be bikes lanes on 16th and 24th between Mission and Valencia.
If the city wants the bicycle network to be used by anybody from 8 to 80 years old, it should be a real network, not a cheese full of holes as the current bike routes are now with all the missing links.
Not everything needs to be on Market? Absolutely! Remove the cars. You should go visit some cities that have done that and you will certainly notice how more humane and pleasant those streets are. It’s night and day. The main street in Minneapolis comes to mind because I was there quite recently.
I don’t know what the traffic is like in the Financial District but I am familiar with Market Street between Van Ness and 8th Streets. Even before they added restrictions on non-commercial vehicles a while back, there was hardly any car traffic at all. Now the streets are pretty much empty except for buses and commercial vehicles. I’m not sure where the horrible congestion problem is that people are talking about.
Private cars are already banned from Market from the Embarcadero to 6th. Do you mean to get rid of the buses and streetcars and delivery trucks and go full pedestrian? The main problem now is that a cyclist has to share a single lane with 4 or 5 buses, tight between curbs with no evasive options in case of danger.
There are bike lane between Mission and Market on 11th, 8th, 7th, and there are lanes planned on the 2nd. There is no bike lane around the Embarcadero BART. But the streets are wide and the traffic is light. It is quite plausible to add a bike lane on, say, Beale.
You say there should be bike lane on Mission between 16th and 24th. Nevertheless, the Valencia bike lane has been there for some 10 years. It has been hailed as a success story. I don’t see any evidence to diminish this because it is not directly go to the BART stations.
No one has mentioned the daily traffic problems on Market Street caused by delivery trucks and armored vehicles hogging the bike/bus lane during rush hour. Why would you direct MUNI buses into the bike lane that is ALSO a loading zone? Take a bus inbound toward Ferry Building down Market (ex 71L) on any weekday morning and you’ll see the problem between 5th and 2nd. Don’t get me started on the delays caused by tourists paying cash to board F cars while buses sit through 2 or 3 light cycles waiting behind.
You’re forgetting small private coach services. There’s always one or 2 double-parked and forcing bicycles to hug the Muni track area. It’s such a permanent fixture on some blocks of Market street that these private coaches should be charged $$$ for externalizing their expenses. I’ve never seen anyone of these hogs being ticketed for blocking the street.
“Private cars are already banned from Market from the Embarcadero to 6th.”
Not true. Eastbound cars are forced to turn off market at 6th, but cars can drive onto market after 6th. There are plenty of private cars all up and down Market.
“You can’t ban private cars on Market St. because the intersections don’t line up properly.”
Ridiculous. There are 1-2 streets that do not cross Market, and they can just be made dead end streets. Certainly no excuse not to close Market to private autos.
I never use Market when I’m in the city. The potholes seriously damage my Pirellis. You cut across on the Embarcadero and then through FWharf and then voila you’re in the Marina, easy sailing all the way to Marin.
Michelins are far better quality than Pirelli. Pirelli is for people who show off. Michelin is the real deal. I have Michelins top of the range… on my bike.
how about spending the money instead on the improvement of MUNI so more people can benefit from the improvements.
the bike lobby has really pulled a fast one over the citizens of SF.
dont cyclists just use the sidewalks on market anyway? why do they need a bike lane?
“Police initially said the bicyclist was cited at the scene. A police spokesman later clarified that the bicyclist was not cited” (regarding the bicyclist who struck a pedestrian while riding on the Market Street sidewalk on June 10, 2013. The pedestrian is still in the hospital in critical condition)
My question is, why are bicyclist always let off the hook by police? The same thing happened to the pedestrian killed walking on the Embarcadero that was struck down by a bicyclist, and it wasn’t until public protest later that the bicyclist was finally questioned by police after initially being let go without ANY citation after the killing.
Yeh, sure, little kids in the bike lane. The last time I rode my bike (today) the “super commuters” were going about 30 mph with their sleek bike uniforms–channeling the Giro d’Italia?. When the biking community finally decides to recognize the average biker then we can talk. Mission or Market–makes no difference.
Will this project if built become as much a failure for pedestrians as the “Wiggle”?
(The comments from neighbors say it all)
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