7 questions answered about Market Street going car-free in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's busiest street is undergoing changes that could catch drivers off guard if they're not prepared - a private vehicle ban is in effect on several blocks of Market Street. ABC7 News found answers to seven questions about what's going to be different and why.

RELATED: Private vehicle ban begins on Market Street in San Francisco

What is changing?
Private vehicles will no longer be allowed along several blocks of Market Street in downtown San Francisco. Drivers will be allowed to continue to cross Market.

When does it take effect?
The changes began on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Enforcement starts between 6 - 7 a.m.

Where will Market St. change?
It depends on which direction you're traveling. Eastbound drivers, headed towards the Ferry Building, will not be allowed on Market St. from 10th St. to Main St. Eastbound drivers will still be allowed to turn right from Market onto 10th St. and onto Steuart St. Westbound drivers will not be allowed between Steuart St. and Van Ness.

There are some additional changes. Northbound Steuart St. from Mission to Market will be closed to cars; southbound traffic is unaffected and drivers can continue to turn from Market onto Steuart. Page St. at Market will only be for bicyclists and westbound drivers will no longer be allowed to turn right. Drivers will also not be allowed to turn right onto Franklin St.

Eastbound drivers will not be allowed to make right turns onto Valencia St. Drivers cannot turn right from South Van Ness Ave. onto Market. At 2nd St. drivers have to turn either right or left a block before Market, on Stevenson St.

Jones St., where it meets Market, will transform from one-way to two-way traffic. Ellis St. will become one-way only away from Market.

Who is affected?
The ban applies to private vehicles. It does not affect taxis, commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, public transit, and paratransit.

Does this include rideshare companies?
Yes. Uber and Lyft cars will not be allowed on the car-free stretch of Market St. after Jan. 29.

Why is this happening?
According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, "Market Street is home to half of the top 10 intersections for pedestrian and bicycle collisions." Making changes in the name of safety is part of San Francisco's Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths. Fewer vehicles should also improve public transit efficiency city-wide because many routes use Market St.

What else is changing?
Eliminating private vehicles is only one part of the plan to improve safety and transit along Market St. Transit-only lanes, commonly known as "red carpet lanes", will be extended. There will be intersection improvements for bicyclists at four intersections. Safety zones will be painted at eight intersections to improve street crossing for pedestrians. The city will add more loading zones on streets surrounding Market. The city's overall plan, called "Better Market Street", is to improve 2.2 miles of market from Octavia Blvd. to Steuart St by early 2021.

Animated video produced by Juan Carlos Guerrero

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