- Free Consultations / No Fees Until We Win
- (213) 927-3700
Personal Injury Firm
In an effort to speed up one of the busiest bus routes, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors reportedly approved permanent transit-only lanes along a stretch of Mission Street.
Back in June 2020, directors approved a series of transit lanes as part of the agency’s Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes program so that buses would not get stuck behind private vehicles as more residents in San Francisco were expected to drive instead of taking public transit during the pandemic. And though the transit emergency lanes are set to expire 120 days after city officials lift the local health emergency, it’s not clear yet when that will happen despite lifting of most state and local Covid-19 restrictions.
However, the transit-only lanes between 11th and First streets will now be permanent fixtures. This in an effort to benefit Muni passengers using the local 14-Mission and its rapid route, which carried 33,600 boardings per day in April, or 71% of the pre-pandemic ridership, according to a SFMTA staff report. The Mission Street transit lane is the first of the program to become permanent. Prior to the pandemic, the specific lanes were only available for limited hours.
According to transit officials, transit-only lane expansion has shown to improve bus travel time. Transportation planner with the agency Steve Boland reportedly said that while evaluating the temporary transit lanes on Mission Street, staff found travel times were lowered between 18 and 20%. “Of course part of this is due to reduced traffic, but they’ve remained steady since last summer even as traffic volumes in the corridor have increased by about 20%,” he said.
The temporary project removed curbside parking and loading zones on one side of Mission Street, which reduced instances of Muni vehicles straddling lanes and swiping vehicles. Now that the infrastructure’s going permanent, it requires a reduction of approximately 175 parking spaces. Boland said 130 spots were removed last fall for the temporary project.
Many Muni passengers, including members of the San Francisco Transit Riders group, called in during public comment about parking reduction to support the permanent shift. Zack Deutsch-Gross, the organization’s campaign and membership manager, reportedly said: “Making these transit-only lanes permanent will bring relief, access and mobility to tens of thousands of riders as our city returns and recovers.”
On the other side of the argument, some business owners aren’t keen on parking reductions, which they fear will be yet another blow to their businesses. Jen Hall, the owner of a nail salon located near Mission and 10th streets, said this would hurt her business with out-of-town customers. She reportedly called the changes “just another unnecessary blow to our small business.”