San Francisco Market St. Forced Right Turn Could Be Permanent

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A vote was scheduled for Tuesday on an experimental program to limit traffic on San Francisco’s busy Market Street.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The concept got off the ground in September 2009, requiring right turns for cars going eastbound between 6th and 8th Streets on Market St., forcing traffic off the often busy street. That pilot program was eventually expanded to include 10th Street.

Tuesday, the Municipal Transportation Agency was expected to make what had been an experimental traffic diversion permanent.

That move wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to advocates who called the pilot program a success.

“We’ve seen more people bicycling, more people walking, and we’ve seen transit moving faster. So it’s really a win, win, win for everyone,” reasoned Leah Shahum, head of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

A traffic study on the changes confirmed the positive benefits of the pilot program.

“Although traffic volumes increased on Mission Street as a result of the project, there were no serious congestion problems,” said MTA spokesperson Paul Rose. “MUNI was moving faster, bicyclists were feeling safer and pedestrians were feeling safe as well.”

However, there have been critics, mostly merchants along mid-Market who alleged that the driving restrictions have cost them valuable business.

Engineers for San Francisco’s MTA testified at a Feb. 4 hearing in favor of making the right turn requirement permanent. The full MTA board is scheduled to vote on the proposal at a hearing beginning 1:00 p.m. Tuesday in room 400 at San Francisco City Hall.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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