The San Francisco MTA has an interesting decision to make with bus zones throughout the city now that a number of bus routes were changed or terminated with the service reductions that went into effect on December 5th, 2009. Will the city open the curb space up to cars, potentially adding meters in zones with metered parking regulations, or take the opportunity to experiment with more innovative parking solutions, such as on-street bicycle parking protected by bollards, similar to the Grove Street entrance of the San Francisco Public Library?
According to the Department of Parking and Traffic Signs and Markings
division, as a temporary measure, the agency has scratched out the Bus Stop markings that were on the asphalt and has painted the curb gray at at select bus stops, giving drivers extra parking. The changes effect 62 bus zones, each of which fit approximately two cars. At numerous other old bus stops, the bus zone markings remain in place and the curb is still red.
According to the MTA’s City Traffic Engineer Jack Fleck, the agency has not decided what it will do with the spaces, outside of the temporary gray curbs.
"My understanding is that we are keeping our options open," Fleck said. "Right now, people can park there."
Marc Caswell, Program Manager at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, would like to see the city experiment with the newly liberated spaces before the public becomes accustomed to them as car parking. Caswell and the SFBC have proposed to the MTA that it consider adding on-street bicycle parking, commonly referred to as bike corrals.
In reviewing all the stops, the SFBC has identified six priority locations, five of which are on Valencia Street, one of the city’s most popular bicycle routes. Caswell explained that the five Valencia Street locations are in front of businesses that are common destinations for customers on bicycle, including the bar Zeitgeist, which routinely fills its ample internal bicycle parking space and sees overflow on poles and meters for blocks in every direction.
Anticipating the reaction to the proposal in light of the long-standing bicycle injunction, Caswell noted that adding bicycle corrals to bus zones would not violate the spirit of injunctive relief, which mandates only that there be no removal of publicly-subsidized private auto storage.
Though the MTA has no definitive timeline for such projects nor any public determination of what will happen with the spaces, Fleck said bike corrals were on the table. "I believe we could establish one or two bike corrals as an ‘innovative project’ and be in compliance with the current bike injunction," Fleck said. The agency is also considering extending the red curb by an extra ten feet so pedestrians have more of a buffer at crosswalks and drivers have better sight-lines to see pedestrians.
Bus lines cut or altered as of December 5th and the streets with bus zones that could become something other than car parking.
Clement Street between 15th Avenue and 32nd Avenue
Hayes at Stanyan (Inbound only), Shrader (Inbound only), Cole, Ashbury
San Jose between Baden and Ocean
Valencia between Duncan and Market
McCoppin @ Gough
Mission @ Mary
Sansome at Lombard
North Point at Kearny/ Embarcadero
Broadway between the Embarcadero and Battery
The Embarcadero between Broadway and Mission
Steuart @ Mission (SW corner – terminal)
Harrison between the Embarcadero and 1st St
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition priority locations near businesses with significant bicycle customer base.
Valencia @ Duboce – Zeitgeist
Valencia @ 15th St – Near Four Barrel Coffee
Valencia @ 20th St – Dog Eared Books
Valencia @ 21st St – Valencia Whole Foods/Dosa/Herbivore
Valencia @ 22nd St – Buggaloos
Hayes @ Ashbury – CCSF John Adams Campus