Market Street begins, or ends – depending on how you see it – down by the bay. There’s a plaza here, Justin Herman, where Market almost hits the Embarcadero.
At 4:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon, streams of people pass through this public space. Many of them carry briefcases and look like they’re in a hurry. Nick Gaffney, who’s on his way to the ferries, says his commute to the Financial District puts him on Market Street more often than he would like.
“I don’t understand why people drive down it quite frankly, because all you can do is take a right,” says Gaffney.
As any visitor who takes an antique streetcar through the mid-market district finds out, there’s much more to San Francisco than just tourist attractions. Many mayors have tried to revitalize the area with some success, but the stretch is still dominated by vacant buildings, Single Room Occupancies (SROs), strip clubs, and populated by the city’s outcasts.