Better Market Street

San Francisco, CA

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Transforming San Francisco’s Celebrated Boulevard

The core ideas behind the 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 to enrich the pedestrian experience. The project’s findings show that people arrive via transit on Market Street but do not stay, partially due to a notable lack of opportunity to sit or pause. The project will create a street life zone, a dedicated corridor that runs parallel to the sidewalk, creating circulation for public life to occur on the street. In this adaptable space, furnishing systems 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.

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Market Street spans a diverse and complex set of neighborhoods and communities, each with different characteristics and aspirations. The Better Market Street plan would not succeed without robust engagement and collaboration with the people that use the street every day. Over several years of work and planning, CMG, along with other consultants and the City team, organized a series of workshops and surveys that helped align the project with the needs of the people that most need Market Street to reach its potential. CMG’s expertise in community engagement and collaboration played a key role in the success of this large-scale, long-term planning effort.
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World class streets should be designed as high performance, sustainable infrastructure to improve the quality of life for humans as well as the greater environment. As San Francisco’s central boulevard, Market Street has the potential to illustrate how a socially vibrant, pedestrian and bike friendly street can lead to decreased vehicle use, greater economic vitality, and a more inclusive public realm.