Better Market Street Plan

San Francisco, CA

A bold vision to transform the city's transportation workhorse into its civic living room.

Largely a transportation project to optimize transit efficiency, the redesign of over two miles of Market Street is an opportunity to design a more socially vibrant, pedestrian- and bike-friendly environment, improving safety and economic vitality. Amongst a large and complex client team, and an extensive public process, CMG explored conceptual, physical, and programmatic alternatives for how Market Street could be reconfigured under three broad concepts, with a particular focus at the pedestrian scale. We believe Market Street has the potential to be San Francisco’s celebrated boulevard. 

The core ideas behind our urban design strategy include: establishing a recognizable, iconic identity for Market Street – one that can vary between the distinct districts it traverses, elevating the quality of the existing major public plazas to be the city’s best, and creating activity between major spaces at medium and small plazas, as well as tiny nodes, to enrich the pedestrian experience. 

The project’s findings show that people arrive via transit on Market Street but are not staying, partially because of a notable lack of opportunity to sit or pause. Our proposition is to create a streetlife zone, a dedicated corridor that runs parallel to the sidewalk circulation for public life to occur on the street. It is an adaptable space and furnishing system that can be changed over time and along the length of the street, hosting pop ups and installations, or designed as an extension of a street-facing institution.

Ultimately, improvements will turn Market Street into a world-class street: a safe, universally accessible, sustainable and enjoyable place that attracts more people on foot, bicycle, and public transit. The concept phase was approved and the EIR is underway; the project will be implemented by SFDPW.