Eyes on the Street: Reason #291 to Build Physically Separated Transit Lanes

Photo: Aaron Bialick

Last night, I stumbled across a confusing scene on Irving Street at Eighth Avenue: An abandoned pick-up truck on the N-Judah tracks, with two trains and a line of cars stuck waiting behind. There were a few onlookers near the truck, but nobody I asked knew what was going on.

Suddenly, six people gathered behind the truck, shifted it into neutral, and pushed it around the corner. Four of them were actually planning to catch the train and rushed off to board it. The other two, who gave their names as Mitchell and Elizabeth, told me they felt compelled to help out the hundreds of people who likely had no idea why they weren’t moving. “Obviously, it would suck to be on that train,” said Mitchell.

So, what’s the story with the truck? When the driver returned, he told me he’d had a fight with his ex-girlfriend while driving down Irving. She apparently grabbed his keys out of the ignition, ran down the street and threw them down a sewer drain. He’d run out to find them.

Obviously, there’s not much a transit agency can do about people stealing keys from private vehicles in the middle of the street. But implementing more physically separated transit lanes would certainly reduce the chances that they’ll jam Muni’s busiest metro line when it happens.

We’re on a light publishing schedule today. See you Monday.