Transit officials make Market St. restrictions permanent, approve youth Fast Passes

Students from San Francisco public schools attended the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency gathering as the board directors approved the free youth Muni Fast Passes. Photo by Jerold Chinn/SF Public Press.

It just got a little harder for motorists to navigate around Market Street downtown. And local transportation officials say that’s an improvement.

A pilot program that forces cars heading east to make a right turn from Market street to Sixth and 10th streets was approved unanimously by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors last week.

The agency says that public transit use and foot traffic have increased since implementing the pilot program in July. Transit travel time was decreased by three percent, according to a study released in January by the agency.

“The Required Right Turn Project takes a measured approach to improving conditions for transit customers, pedestrians, cyclists and taxis,” said the agency’s executive director, Nathaniel Ford, in a statement.

The agency also noted that although traffic did increase on Mission Street because of the pilot program, there was no serious traffic congestion on parallel streets.

The pilot program began in January 2009 to improve traffic congestion along Market Street and address safety concerns by bicyclists and pedestrians.

Youth Fast Passes

The agency also approved unanimously a plan to pass out 12,000 monthly youth Fast Passes to low-income San Francisco students for the last three months of the current school year, April through June. The program will cost nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

The agency has been working with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the past year to help low-income students by reducing costs through the Youth Lifeline Pass program.

“I wanted to make sure that vulnerable students who attend our schools are given every opportunity to succeed,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who sponsored a resolution in last April to create the discounted passes.

The San Francisco Unified School District will start distributing the passes this month. The free youth passes will cost the agency $720,000 for the current fiscal year.

The San Francisco Public Press produced this story. The SFPP is a startup nonprofit news organization in San Francisco that aims to do for print and Web journalism what public broadcasting has done for radio and television.

Tags: bicyclist, market street, pedestrians, public transit, , sixth street, tenth street, youth lifeline pass

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