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Market Street people




The goal is to balance street life on Central Market St so that workers, residents, shoppers, night-lifers, tourists and "people of leisure" exist in proportions comfortable to all.

Here’s how the numbers work:

How many walkers live north and south of Central Market Street

A study made for the Mid-Market PAC counted 2600 units in Single Room Occupancy hotels. Let's add another 1000 people as "people of leisure" and occupants of the "luxury looking" charitable organization buildings around the Hilton and in SOMA, and outsiders who come to sell illegal stuff or to panhandle. That would mean a pool of about 3,600 deciding each minute whether to join Central Market street life.

A discussion of how some residents might decide is HERE.

Naturally, the vast majority of "people of leisure" cause no disturbance to other people on Market St. The Homeless Outreach Team reported to The San Francisco Examiner on August 29, 2011 that “477 vagrants cost San Francisco $20M.”

Less than 500 “most hardcore homeless population individuals ... who in many cases suffer from debilitating psychiatric or medical diseases, and typically have severe dependence on alcohol or drugs” are most responsible for incidents which disturb and disrupt passersby.

“The City’s Homeless Outreach Team has begun seeking out these high service users, said Dr. Rajesh Parekh, director of the team. For some people, if you take care of the medical or mental health problems, other things start to get better.”
Link to article is HERE.

A newer program to pinpoint and effectively service the chronic offenders - who drink and camp in public and aggressively panhandle - has been promised by the District Attorney's office. They have identified 68 homeless who have accumulated at least 20 bench warrants in the last two years, according to an article by Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle for May 20, 2012.

A new computer system will identify the "chronic offender" for the police officer who makes an arrest. The chronic men will be taken to the Community Justice Center which takes "quality of life" offenses more quickly and sends them to the hospital. When the patient is well enough, he will then be taken to services or jail, rather than the current practice of being returned to the street - to begin the cycle again. The proposed date for things to change is "by the end of summer."
Link to article is HERE.

How many workers could walk on Central Market Street

Twitter’s plan to move into 200,000 of the 1 million square feet of space in the former Furniture Mart building points up the recovery of tech worker employment in San Francisco. From a low of 18,210 tech jobs in 2004, the number has risen to 32,180 a year ago, almost equal to the dot-com peak of 34,116 in 2000. Non-government tech workers in The City totaled 17.4% in 2010, compared with 14.4% in 2000, according to Colin Yasukochi of real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle.

But as tech jobs grew, the space companies rented for tech dropped from 18.3% of San Francisco office space in 2000, to 9.3% today. "In 2000, tech companies leased an average of 325 square feet per employee. Today that number has fallen to 175," according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2011.

There is a demand for 2.7 million square feet of office space by tech firms estimated by Jones Lang LaSalle, real estate research, according to a San Francisco Business Times article of May 2, 2012. This was the largest share of demand for any business sector, being 30% of the total need for space.

If tech workers were lured to the remaining 1.8 million square feet of Central Market space advertised as available, that would work out (at 175 square feet, per employee) to 10,285 people available to spill into Central Market street life.

That would be about 10,000 workers to 3,600 “people of leisure.”

Where more walkers on Central Market Street could come from


A study made for the Better Market Street Project, discussed the numbers of people and type of activity needed to bring a Street from a "feeling of desolation" (170 people per hour) to a "feeling of urbanity." (1000 per hour)

The traditional belief is that cars cause congestion by driving up and down Market St looking for parking. But the study estimates 85% of traffic goes only as far as two blocks --- either to cross Market or to reach parking. There are 30,000 parking spaces within a 5 minute walk, the average occupancy of which is 45% to 73%. "Drivers have a difficult time locating parking due to lack of signage."

Most out-of-City drivers arrive on Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Van Ness Streets. Rather than forcing cars to turn off Market Street at Sixth, Eighth and Tenth, the only forced turn should be at Fifth St. Market St car congestion is at its most serious between Fifth and First. The turn at Fifth would also guide drivers to the large City garage at Fifth and Mission.

Banning cars does not speed up bus time

Another belief has been that cars slow bus transit time. In fact, the current car restrictions cut bus and trolley transit time by only 50 seconds between First and Ninth Streets. Now that Muni allows Clipper Card holders to enter any bus door, loading times (which are the real delay) will be cut more significantly than 50 seconds.

Another consideration is that the current forced right turns are the most severe danger which bicyclists now face on Market St.

If workers, shoppers, restaurant goers, and night-lifers were permitted to drive two blocks or so on Market St between Van Ness and Fifth St to a parking garage or lot, there would be a potential of up to 30,000 new people to make Market Street safer and livelier.


If the considerations above were made to happen, there would be a potential of up to 40,000 new people to 3,600 “people of leisure.”

The numbers, as rough and as proximate as they are, suggest that it is feasible to balance workers, residents, shoppers, Nightlifers, tourists and "people of leisure" to proportions comfortable to all.

For a different view about what should be in the Market St roadway, click HERE.

Next:   Market St transit HERE.

Return to the The Proposed Central Market Art Zoning Plan HERE.