Width is the main characteristic of The City's main street. At 120 feet wide, it was built to accommodate four trolley car tracks, two lanes of vehicles and more pedestrians than will ever be seen again.
This report is an investigation of what belongs on the Market Street roadway.
Let's begin under it.
The BART stations are now over capacity at Embarcadero and Montgomery. Proposals for another line under Folsom are being floated. The problem is that current and proposed zoning here is for residential. The workers and shoppers from outside The City would be too far from where they want to be.
A better solution would be to return the Muni streetcars to ground level on Market Street, making available the current Muni underground stations for BART.
The long platforms don't work for the short Muni trains that are necessary to fit local streets outside the tunnel.
The City would retain two tracks of Muni on Market Street. This would allow four lanes for buses and other vehicles.
The unused News Kiosks would be converted for ticket sales.
The liveliness that lures shoppers and visitors to the city would be restored. The convenience of not having to go underground to make a Muni trip would be another advantage.
The width of the sidewalk was 14 feet when there were 4 trolley tracks and two vehicle lanes. Now it is 25.
Cutting back to the original width would create room for bike lanes.
The width of the staircases leading down to BART is too wide and should be narrowed as part of the rebuilding of the street scheduled for 2015.
The new aboveground lines of tracks could be laid before BART even begins to plan the new underground connections at Embarcadero and Van Ness where trains would divide between the two levels. This would avoid another disrupting tear-up.
Future office and residential projects should be required to provide access for BART off the sidewalk as was done at the Northwest corner of Montgomery and Market Streets.