SFMTA Pushes Red Transit Lanes on Church Street to January, Citing Rain

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What Church Street would look like with new transit lanes and a colorful reminder that cars are not allowed. Photo simulation by SFMTA.

Red-colored transit-only lanes on Church Street won’t come until some time in January, according to SF Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose, who cited rainy weather as the reason for the delay. The project would be one of San Francisco’s first to add transit-only lanes with colorful pavement to emphasize that they’re off-limits to drivers. Implementation was originally expected in September, but was pushed back to November to coordinate with a construction closure. “We need 72 hours of guaranteed dry weather to get the work done,” Rose said.

Part of the Muni Transit Effectiveness Project, the pilot on Church Street would dedicate the two center traffic lanes between 16th Street and Duboce Avenue exclusively to Muni trains, buses, and taxis. The SFMTA has only used colored pavement in one other location — on the light-rail lanes on Third Street. Church would be the first street to see colored pavement on a transit lane that’s also used by buses and taxis. SFMTA planners say the project should help reduce delays on Muni’s J-Church and 22-Fillmore lines on a section where Muni vehicles are often held up by private automobiles.

City officials also celebrated the completion of the Church and Duboce Track Improvement Project this month, which included replacement of Muni tracks for the N-Judah and J-Church, as well as a green bike channel and widened boarding islands, murals welcoming bicyclists to the Wiggle, and, most recently, an art installation that also functions as seating for the N-Judah stop. The SFMTA had tried to install the Church transit lanes during the project’s final construction closure, but said crews were unable to do so due to rain.