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

Stockton Street. Photo: ##

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.

  • mikesonn

    Sadly, we were busy last Saturday so I missed the TEP meeting.

    “Widening travel lanes on Stockton Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue. ”

    i.e. shrink the sidewalk. While this area isn’t too crazy, like south of Broadway, it’s still a pretty busy area. And Chinatown/North Beach can’t afford to give up any more of the pedestrian space.

    Make the hard decision and just ban private autos from Stockton. Stop making all these little meaningless changes (or big wastes of money, see: central subway) just to continue to allow private autos to cut through the densest neighborhood on the west coast.

  • MuniRapid

    @mikesonn:disqus Shrinking the sidewalk is not a proposal. The “widening travel lanes proposal” proposes temporal or permanent parking lane removal and moves the centerline to accommodate travel lanes that are as wide as the buses (current travel lanes are narrower than 10 and a half foot buses). Please ask questions about the proposals @MuniRapid:twitter and SFMTA planners and engineers will happily clarify! 

  • mikesonn

    @447d97ebfd243eb78e928c8e38bd984c:disqus SWEET!!

  • Davistrain

    Regarding the photo: there’s nothing like a telephoto lens to make a street look even more congested than it really is.  (and the “really is” is bad enough)

  • david vartanoff

    Reviewing the TEP plans for the J & N, I am pleased Muni is finally talking about getting rid of 4 way stops and frustrated that we at Rescue Muni proposed this and other upgrades over a decade ago.  Back then, the response was a litany of no money, unwillingness to confront parking issues

  • Richard Mlynarik

    That moving the 22 to 16th Street — crossing Caltrain at grade — is going to go down REALLY well.  Some moron pencilled this in as part of the Willie Brown give-aways to Catellus’s Mission Bay development plan (1. no transit will use yucky old diesel; 2. all transit will run really slowly but we don’t care because anybody who matter drives; 3. Muni will relocate trolley wiring at City expense in the service of the private developed) and nobody with a brain has ever thought about what it means at any time since.  (Hey, just like Central Subway!)

    Aside from the little technical and maintenance problem of 750vdv (Muni) and 25kvac (Caltrain) electrification systems crossing each other, there’s the sub-5-minute trolley bus line getting through a railroad at-grade crossing where the gates are going to be down for nearly 10 minutes an hour.

    I’ve only been going on about this for fifteen years now…

    There is nobody at any of SFMTA, TJPA and Caltrain or any of thei consultants and contractors who possesses a single functioning neuron anywhere in their sub-siminan skulls.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals on the job.  This country is doomed.

  • Anonymous

    I asked MuniRapid about this, and got the response ‘We are looking into several options. Grade separation is on the table. Switches too. Still to be determined.’

    Grade separation is by far the most sensible solution, but an underpass would probably close off access to 16th St from Mississippi, 7th St, and the access road parallel to 7th St on the east side of the freeway. An overpass is impossible due to the freeway.

    Previously the city suggested demolishing I-280 north of Mariposa and replacing it with an extended 7th St, which would allow the Caltrain line to be trenched under 16th St. That’s by far the best solution, but not cheap.

  • Biggus_Diggus

    MUNI should really look at creating Bus-only (or transit-only) corridors.  It’s just too much work for the busses to get in and out of traffic. 

  • mikesonn

    Stockton Street would be a great place to start.

  • MuniRapid

    Hi @Biggus_Diggus:disqus – The travel time reduction proposals do in fact call for more transit only lanes throughout the city.  They are proposed in varying lengths and locations for the 30 Stockton, the 14 Mission, and the 22 Fillmore, and spot locations for the 8X and J Church.  The specifics will be up on the site later in April.  

    Are there any areas in particular that you think should be transit-only?- MuniRapid@MuniRapid:twitter 

  • Biggus_Diggus

    Hi @MuniRapid, I would look at speeding up major corridors like Geary and Van Ness and either making those streets transit-only, or making a parallel street transit-only.  I notice the Mission Street busses that have been temporarily re-routed to S. Van Ness run more smoothly and faster because there is less congestion on SVN than on Mission, less in-and-out.  So in this case I would consider making Mission Street transit only, or making SVN transit-only, or walling off a lane on either Geary or SVN for transit-only.  The current painted “bus lane” designations are ignored.

    I often disagree with mikesonn, but I agree with him on Stockton street.

  • Southvannesstraffic

    It is obvious you don’t live on South Van. If you did you would not want the buses all day and night flying down the street. Let’s run them down Mission where they belong. The time has arrived to slow down and quiet South Van just like Folsom,Harrison and Bryant.

    Thanks but no thanks to the buses. Our street deserves to be slower and quieted.

  • Sebraleaves

    Maybe it would make more sense to use smaller buses that fit the streets rather than reorganize the streets to fit the buses that are not only too wide for the streets, but have a ridiculously wide turning radius. Smaller buses would start and stop a lot faster than the  behemoths they have on some of the streets in the Mission. They are practically empty.


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