SFMTA to Create Sansome Street Contra-Flow Lane for Muni’s 10, 12 Lines

A new contra-flow lane for transit and commercial vehicles on Sansome would eliminate a detour for Muni’s 10-Townsend line [PDF]. Image: SFMTA
The SFMTA plans to install a contra-flow transit lane for three blocks of Sansome Street near the Financial District, providing a faster and more direct route for Muni’s 10-Townsend and 12-Folsom bus routes.

The new southbound lane would be reserved for transit, bicyclists, and commercial vehicles during daytime hours, and eliminate a detour that Muni buses must currently take along Battery Street, one block away. It’s expected to save an average of three minutes for Muni riders, according to Sean Kennedy, planning manager for the SFMTA Transit Effectiveness Project.

The project received preliminary approval at an SFMTA engineering hearing today, and is set to go to the SFMTA Board of Directors for final approval on September 2. It’s expected to be installed by spring 2016.

Currently, the three-block stretch of Sansome between Washington Street and Broadway has two traffic lanes, both one-way northbound, with parking lanes on either side. The project would convert that stretch to two-way traffic, similar to the configuration that already exists on Sansome south of Washington, but the newly-converted southbound lane would be prohibited to cars between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day. All of the existing metered parking spaces on the southbound side would be converted to metered loading zones, according to Kennedy, and most of them would be replaced on cross-streets by converting other loading zones to parking spaces.

Sansome, looking south toward Pacific Avenue. Photo: Google Maps

The new southbound lane would be similar to the existing part-time lane on the east side of Sansome. On the eastern curb, parking is currently banned between 3 to 6 p.m., when the curbside lane becomes a moving lane for transit and commercial vehicles.

The project will also upgrade the traffic signals along Sansome with transit priority detection, “daylight” some corners, and the crosswalks will be upgraded to “continental” or ladder-style, said Kennedy. American Disabilities Act-friendly curb ramps and blue zones for disabled parking will also be added.

  • Bruce

    This is a long-overdue no-brainer. I don’t understand why this wasn’t done when the rest of the contraflow lane was constructed (in the late 90s, IIRC).

  • coolbabybookworm

    Looking forward to this as an occasional 12 rider and this is my north of market commute bike route. The main problem I see is abuse of the lane by private autos, like most other transit lanes. Since they often turn at California or Pine, it can back up the bus flow for the entire light cycle. Since the ban on cars is only during certain times, many drivers fail to see the signs. I didn’t see the signs (as a bike rider) for the first year I biked on the street. If they could implement better signage or at least have occasional enforcement this would be much more effective, but still a great step in the right direction.

  • Bruce

    If bright red lanes on Market Street aren’t enough (see People Behaving Badly), I don’t know what is. No amount of signage can make up for lack of enforcement.

  • KL

    Not coming fast enough. During rush hour, when battery street is backed up, both the 10 and 12 can do nothing but sit in traffic resulting in 10-20 mins for traveling a 3 block stretch.

  • donsf2003

    Anything that relies on enforcement will fail. There is none.

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