Toward a Faster Muni: Check Out TEP Proposals for Your Transit Route

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Stockton Street. Photo: geekstinkbreath/Flickr

Before you head off to one of the SFMTA’s ten public workshops on how to make your Muni route faster and more reliable, first you can take a peek at the proposed plans on the agency’s website.

The SFMTA’s Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) web page now features a route-by-route summary of the proposals tailored to each of its eight priority “rapid” lines: the 28-19th Avenue, the N-Judah, the 30-Stockton, the 8x-Bayshore Express, the J-Church, the 14-Mission, the 5-Fulton, and the 22-Fillmore. Although the website doesn’t provide maps or detailed designs, it features a rough look at the street changes proposed for each line, including new transit-only lanes, extending transit bulbs and boarding islands, moving stops across intersections, removing stop signs or adding transit-priority traffic signals, increasing stop spacing, and widening narrow lanes to fit buses.

If you want to see Muni move more efficiently, it’s especially important to show up and support proposals to increase stop spacing to speed up trips (or, in other words, remove stops). At the first of these TEP workshops, which focused on the 28 and N-Judah lines, attendees generally voiced mixed feelings about removing stops, according to agency staff.

Overall, the idea of setting stops farther apart is popular: A 2010 survey found that 61 percent of riders would consider walking longer distances if it would speed up their trip. And once stop spacing is optimized and riders can experience the difference, the changes seem to be appreciated. SFMTA staff said the agency has received mostly positive feedback from riders on the 28-Limited line after the agency removed several stops last fall.

Seventy percent of Muni stops are closer than Muni’s own guidelines call for, according to the SFMTA. With stops as frequent as one (or more) per block, it’s a top complaint among riders. In a 2010 Streetfilm, SFMTA TEP Project Manager Julie Kirschbaum explained that “over time, bus stops have sort of creeped in for various reasons” in “places that aren’t necessarily optimal.”

The SFMTA also held a workshop last weekend on the 8x and 30 lines in Chinatown and will hold two more this week. Tonight’s workshop will focus on the J-Church and 14-Mission (south of Cesar Chavez), and tomorrow’s will look at the 22-Fillmore and 14-Mission (in the Inner Mission). The final workshop on May 5 will address all of the proposals.

See the entire schedule of workshops on the TEP website. You can also weigh in on an online poll.