Private vehicle ban begins on Market Street in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bicyclists on Market Street in San Francisco were in a very good mood this morning.

"I am loving this! Thank you, Mayor London Breed! Thank you SFMTA! This is amazing!" exclaimed Mike Vladimer, who commutes every day on his bike.

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

Today is the first day that private cars are not allowed on Market Street from Van Ness to the Ferry building in an effort to ease congestion and keep pedestrians and bicyclists safer.

Parking control officers were stationed at a few intersections to help guide people. They said bicyclists have been thanking them.

"I tried to high five one of the officers. They gave me a thumbs up instead. This is like the best. This is totally the future of transportation," Vladimer said.

One officer told us the morning went pretty smoothly.

"I've only had one or two vehicles that have tried to make the right turn onto Market. But they see me directing them to go forward and they obey so no confrontation so far," said parking control officer Ed Montoya.

He is worried, though, about the afternoon commute.

"Later in the afternoon when people are trying to go home to get across the bridge that's when I anticipate it is going to be a little heavier," he said.

City officials will have extra patrols out for the next couple of weeks to help guide people. They won't be handing out tickets yet but when they do it will cost $238.

Commercial vehicles are still allowed on Market along with emergency vehicles, paratransit vehicles and taxi cabs. Ride share cars such as Lyft and Uber are not allowed.

City officials have alerted GPS apps to not direct drivers onto Market Street.

There's already talk of doing similar projects on Valencia Street in the Mission and possibly Leavenworth in the Tenderloin.

ABC7 news reporter, Kate Larsen, asked mayor Breed about just that, while they rode down Market Street on a duck tram, with other city officials, "Is the city hoping to expand this private car free zone to other areas?"

"Well I think we want to make sure, because this took so long and we know that there are some challenges. We want to see the results of the impacts on this street' Breed said. "We are hoping that this makes a difference as it relates to safety. We've lost too many lives because of collisions that could have been avoided and this is one of the most heavily used streets in our city to get people to and from work and so this is something that's important for public safety and also as a growing city we've got to start thinking differently about how we move people around more efficiently. In fact, this is supposed to increase public transportation by 25%.

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