As the environmental review process moves forward for the Geary Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, Supervisor Eric Mar is holding a community meeting to discuss the many issues at stake along the city’s busiest bus route. As we’ve written, the Geary BRT will be complementary to the proposed Van Ness corridor project, which would hopefully be online by Muni’s centennial in 2012.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s (TA’s) feasibility study found that Geary BRT would "improve travel times on the most congested part of Geary — Van Ness to 33rd Avenue — by 25% to 31% (7-8 minutes depending on the alternative) for 38L-Limited riders, and 41% to 44% (13-14 minutes) for 38-Local riders who choose to switch to BRT." The project costs are expected to be between $157-$212 million, including substantial intersection overhauls at Fillmore and Masonic.
"The Geary Bus Rapid Transit project will improve the efficiency and reliability to the most traveled bus line in San Francisco," said Supervisor Eric Mar. "We need community residents to work with us and City staff to ensure that pedestrian and street improvements also move forward with the implementation of BRT."
The opposition to the Geary BRT project has come from several merchants along the corridor who argue that traffic will spill out into their neighborhoods with the vehicular capacity reduction that will result from a bus-only lane in either direction along Geary. These merchants have also expressed concern about the traffic and parking impacts during construction, though TA personnel involved in the project have pointed out to Streetsblog that construction would only happen two blocks at a time to mitigate the disruption to the surrounding area.
Zabe Bent, lead planner from the TA on the project, said her agency wanted to diffuse some of the untrue rumors about the project and explain the corridor-wide benefits, including those for pedestrians.
"We want to make sure folks understand what the project is and isn’t," said Bent. "We heard people have been talking about a rail project that is coming imminently and that includes home takings."
Tonight’s meeting should be interesting.
The meeting starts at 7 pm at the Richmond Recreation Center gymnasium, 251 18th Avenue between California and Clement.
[Updated: 2:20 pm]