That was fast! On August 4 (Thursday), SFMTA is reconfiguring McAllister and Seventh Street North to two-way, in order to make the inbound 5-Fulton more direct, removing the current detour via Hyde Street. Assuming overhead wire testing is successful, the new, faster route for the 5 will begin after overhead wire testing is completed. This is an easy fix that we have recommended for a while, and that was endorsed by the SF Transit Effectiveness Project.
The MTA has at last announced details of service changes to take effect December 5. Some of these are cuts due to the recent budget problems, but there are also many changes that are the result of the multi-year Transit Effectiveness Project, including added limited service on Potrero/San Bruno (new 9L), Mission (14L and 14X), Geary (38L), Haight/Noriega (71L), and the long awaited extension of the 5 downtown at all hours. However, several lines will be cut entirely: 4-Sutter, 7-Haight, 20-Columbus, 26-Valencia, 53-Southern Heights, and Muni’s shortest line, 89-Laguna Honda.
The SFTEP project plans to upgrade the 41-Union line to 60′ articulated buses during the 5am to 9am rush hour, saving the SFMTA $300,000 a year and boosting the number of riders a single driver can transport. The downside is that Union St. businesses will lose parking spots and fear that the loss of parking will impact their business during this deep recession.
Tired of your bus stopping twice on one block? At long last the MTA is about to announce proposed stop consolidations citywide, which will allow Muni to offer faster and more reliable service. This is something that was discussed in the SFTEP but as not yet been implemented. The proposal includes a new spacing policy, ut more importantly, actual implementation of that policy (only 18% of lines conform to policy today). Of course stops would still be closer together on steep hills.
For a simple example of how service can be faster with fewer stops, compare lines 21 and 5 through the Western Addition. The 21 stops on every block and sometimes twice in one block, while the 5 stops on every other block – and due to reduced dwell time the 5 is much faster from Stanyan to City Hall. Implementing 5 line style stop spacing citywide could speed up service at no additional cost, giving more potential riders a reason to switch to transit. (Rescue Muni has favored stop consolidation for over a decade.)
Update: Curbed also has an item on this.
For details on how the plan affects the line you ride, please look at the summary on the SFTEP website. Rescue Muni supported the plan as amended, but of course we will watching the MTA closely as they implement the plan over the next couple of years, particularly as decisions are made on how to prioritize transit on major corridors citywide.