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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) temporary transit lanes have reportedly remained critical for commuters making essential trips throughout the pandemic. Located on Geary Boulevard, the Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes program quickly installed temporary transit lanes on key routes across the city to help preserve the travel time gains seen during the early days of the pandemic.
The Geary corridor features new wooden sidewalk extensions at some of the 38R Geary Rapid’s busiest bus stops. These temporary extensions allow buses to stay in the transit lane when picking up and dropping off passengers, ultimately making them more accessible and reliable.
Since emergency transit lanes were installed in the Richmond neighborhood last winter, SFMTA has been able to reportedly lock in 50 to 75% of those travel time savings for 38 Geary customers, where transit lanes were added. The new transit lanes are building on the success of the Geary Rapid Project, which is making much-needed transit and safety improvements between Market and Stanyan Streets. Combined, 75% of the Geary corridor now has transit lanes.
After the temporary emergency transit lanes were installed, they were evaluated to ensure that the improvements aren’t creating unintended problems. Metrics looked at include bus travel times, bus crowding and effects on vehicle traffic. Some of the major takeaways were:
Considering the positive evaluation findings, SFMTA is proposing to make them permanent. The legislation for doing so will be presented to the SFMTA Board of Directors, likely in July 2021.
In light of the emergency transit lane evaluation results and other factors, the SFMTA is also now pursuing a revised side-running design for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project. This design would enable the inclusion of additional transit lanes, bus stop modifications, and safety improvements. Outreach to seek input on these changes is planned for later this year.