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Market Street Changes Leading To Faster Muni Speeds, Little Impact To Cars, Study Finds

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Nearly a month since Market Street in Downtown San Francisco went car-free, a new study shows the ban has had little to no impact on spillover traffic on side streets.

According to the traffic analytics firm Inrix, the biggest slowdown in vehicle traffic since the closure takes place on Mission Street during the morning commute, but speeds dropped by only 4 percent, from 10.3 miles per hour to 9.9 mph.

"Overall, the closure had a benign impact on travel speeds with speeds decreasing by an average of 1 percent in the morning and by 0 percent in the afternoon," Inrix said in a statement.

Car-Free Market Street
Stretch of Market Street in Downtown San Francisco closed to private vehicles. (CBS)

On the flip side, transit users and cyclists are seeing improvements on Market Street, with Muni lines running 6 percent faster on average. The number of people riding their bikes on Market since the change went up by 25 percent.

The changes to Market Street took effect on January 29th, banning private vehicles on a two-mile stretch through downtown. Buses, taxis, bicycles and commercial vehicles, as well as emergency vehicles are still allowed.

In a recent interview with KPIX 5, SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin said, "We're getting, weirdly, only positive comments about the changes that we've made to Market Street."

"It makes us wonder why we didn't do this 12 years ago and why it took 10 years of very, very detailed planning in order to make this change," Tumlin went on to say.

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