Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Letter to the Editor

Editor - The map included Saturday's cover story about the increase in bicyclists and pedestrians being injured or killed by vehicles draws attention to how dysfunctional market street is. The majority of problem intersections are on market street between 8th and Embarcadero highlighting the fact that Market Street does not function for vehicle, pedestrians, or cyclists. Howard and Folsom work very well for moving traffic, but there is no corridor for cyclists and pedestrians to get down town. Bicycle ridership on Market Street increased 30% between 2007 and 2008 so we have a great opportunity to make Market Street more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Supervision Daly was on the right track with his recommendation to ban or significantly limit private motor vehicles on Market street. It's also time to rethink the 15 Muni lines running down Market Street. A type of Market Street shuttle would make sense to mitigate congestion.

In addition to being dysfunctional, Market Street is embarrassing. Despite the fact that is the spine of the downtown corridor, neighborhood, city sites, and a major tourist hub, it has been ignored by City Hall and planners for years. The street hasn't been paved for over a decade, and pedestrians and bicyclists utilizing the street are treated like second class citizens — it's no picnic for motorists either. It's time to close the street to vehicles that don't need to be there and reclaim the street for people to use and enjoy. Other cities have closed key avenues to great success — Denver, Minneapolis, and Santa Monica to name a few.


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