Supervisor ‘dusts off’ old idea for new proposal

Supervisor Chris Daly asked the City Attorney on Tuesday to draft legislation prohibiting cars from traveling on Market Street 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from Octavia Boulevard to Justin Herman Plaza, across from the Ferry Building.

His proposal follows Mayor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of plans to close 6 miles of roadway — including the northern lanes of one of the city’s main roadways, The Embarcadero — on Aug. 31 and Sept. 14.

Newsom’s plan to connect Chinatown with the Bayview and provide open space for bicycling, jogging and dancing is facing resistance. Merchants at Fisherman’s Wharf worry the closure during their busiest season would adversely impact their business, and several supervisors have said an economic impact report should be completed first.

Daly said, “The point is, if we are going to go through the whole rigmarole, let’s make it meaningful.”

While the idea of closing Market Street may sound far-fetched, it has been kicked around and studied before by city officials. Daly said former Mayor Willie Brown raised the idea in his first inaugural speech.

The closure, he said, would bring a “great deal of benefit in terms of livability of The City.” Pedestrians, bicyclists “and the what-like” would enjoy the open roadway and the speed of public transit would be improved. Pass-through traffic would also be permitted.

“I think it will really enliven and embolden Market Street,” Daly said.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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