In a long-overdue step, SFMTA is now painting bus and streetcar lanes red to make it obvious that they are transit only. Last year’s project to paint the lanes on Church Street was a big success, so SFMTA is now extending the red lanes citywide.
Riders on the 6 and 71 know how slow the inbound Haight Street commute is now, thanks to the multi-block detour inbound to avoid the one-way section of Haight. Today, the SFMTA is holding a community meeting (at 6pm-7:30pm at Caffe Trieste, 1667 Market) to discuss an obvious fix: restore two-way traffic on Haight, and bring the inbound buses back to that street. Details here. This is a no-brainer for improved transit – please express your support if you attend the meeting!
One suggested improvement: make the intersection at Haight and Octavia no turns from Haight in either direction. This would eliminate conflicts between freeway traffic and the buses.
After years of community involvement, the SFMTA is about to review proposed changes to the street design for Masonic Avenue. This would create a boulevard-style street with zero parking, raised cycle tracks, and bus bulb-outs at major intersections, and also would reduce the current six and seven lanes of traffic to four from Geary all the way to Fell. (See pdf, beginning at page 41.)
This design looks beautiful in the slides, but as with the equally “beautiful” Octavia Boulevard, there are some major concerns. In particular, the reduction in street capacity is almost certain to cause congestion during peak hours, as is the case now with Octavia and Divisadero. Will this mean big delays for the 43-Masonic, which uses this corridor? The proposal does not include any discussion of the likely impact to traffic or transit speed, particularly at peak hours when ridership is highest and during the hours that left turns are allowed.
If you have thoughts about the proposal, please attend the hearing at City Hall, Room 416, on Friday, May 13, at 10 am. Unfortunately the SFMTA has again chosen to hold the meeting during regular business hours, when many commuters cannot attend – so you can also submit your comments to the project manager or the Board secretary.
Apparently “transit first” doesn’t actually include better transit infrastructure, at least when Hayes Valley is concerned. The SFMTA just approved changes to Hayes Street, (pdf) making it a two way street between Gough and Van Ness – but despite the heavy commute hour traffic, did not include any changes to the 21-Hayes routing nor any bus lanes. (SF Gate, SF Streetsblog.)
One minor change was included, to add a left turn arrow at Hayes and Gough – but this does nothing to get the buses out of the heavy traffic that occurs every evening from Market all the way to Gough, and that will only get worse with the removal of a traffic lane.
Rescue Muni has long supported a two way Hayes – but with a two way bus operation (requiring new overhead wires) to eliminate the wasteful inbound detour from Laguna to Polk, and also with an outbound rush hour bus lane. It’s disappointing that this option was not considered here. (To be fair, it was also excluded from the final Transit Effectiveness Project report, which doesn’t recommend any changes to the “local” 21 line.)
Riders wishing to avoid delays in the evening commute should take the 5-Fulton or 71-Haight/Noriega Limited and walk to Hayes.
On September 29, the experiment to reduce auto traffic on Market Street by requiring right turns for passenger cars at Eighth and Sixth Streets begins. [PDF flyer from MTA] Will this improve inbound bus service on Market? We think it might, which is why we support the experiment – but we want to hear how it actually works in practice. Comment here on your ride today (before the experiment) and later in the week (after it begins)!
Update: The new layout looks “pretty good,” per MTA Director Nat Ford.