Eyes on the Street: Transit Bulb-Outs Installed at Carl and Cole

Photos: Aaron Bialick

N-Judah riders boarding at Carl and Cole Streets are enjoying a better boarding area after the SF Municipal Transportation Agency built sidewalk bulb-outs (a.k.a. extensions) this weekend.

The curb ramps and other finishing touches aren’t in yet, but the wider sidewalks have replaced a handful of car parking spaces with more room for the roughly 4,300 daily transit boardings that take place at the intersection. Muni passengers can now board and disembark without setting foot off the sidewalk, and the outbound stop will hopefully be free of the illegal parking that has regularly caused train delays and collisions.

The outbound stop, where a wider sidewalk replaced pavement where drivers often parked illegally, blocking trains.
  • Awesome! A long overdue improvement, but at least it’s finally complete.

  • Anonymous


  • Joel

    Excellent! (I hope a shelter and seating will follow soon…)

  • In a few days it will be absolutely inconceivable that once upon a time passengers were crowded on the tiny sidewalk, that they had to filter through the parked cars to get on/off the streetcars, and that cars would frequently block the tracks in front of the Burger Place.  

  • Mario Tanev

    With a collection of some small but important steps like this, Muni is slowly becoming a transit-first transportation agency. Muni has also announced a pilot to make a transit-only lane on Church between 16th and Duboce: http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mtep/JChurchRapidPilot.htm. If it implements the TEP and keeps and improves the current pace of improvements (questionable) it is conceivable that 20 years from now we’ll look back and in the aggregate the result will seem impressive. Zurich’s transit system seems impressive and magical to me, but is the result of multiple well-executed policies across the city across many decades. Sometimes it’s easier to make progress on a big project than on many small projects that together actually amount to much more than the big project. Big projects capture the imagination, but are usually limited in scope, take a long time to complete, have higher risk, require higher commitments and their only effects are in the long term. Small projects like this still have the same long term effects, but they act sooner and are less at risk at failing. The TEP is many times more valuable than the Central Subway or even any of the BRTs in isolation (even though the TEP is cheaper), but it’s a combination of small changes that unfortunately don’t quite capture the imagination. Thank you Muni for doing the right thing here.

  • Sprague

    Very well said, Mario.  These types of improved transit stops should be widespread in a truly transit-first city.  The MTA is (finally) on the right track and hopefully the pace of progress will pick up.  The top photo captures how beautiful and inviting our streets can become.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Anywhere else in the world it would be inconceivable that people were buying and extending a 30-year-obsolete high floor “light” rail system when massively more rider-friendly low-floor street-level level-boarding trams were so widely available and widely used … everywhere outside the retarded US or A.

    So, hoorway for cars not parking in trams stops.  But trams you don’t just step across into from the curb, in 2012?  WTF?

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, on the job.

  • Mario Tanev

    You would have to at least from time to time provide a constructive or positive or non-snarky comment or else be considered a troll.

  • Matt

    Yes Richard, it would be great to have low-floor trams, but at what cost? Replace all the existing Streetcars, and modify every High Floor stop in the city? Every Underground Muni Station, every outdoor elevated boarding platform. I’ll take the bulb-outs and other cost effective improvements until the SFMTA has all the money they need to pay for your utopian vision.

  • Otrannel

     Spread the word to end the word….http://www.r-word.org/.

    Richard, please avoid using the word “retarded.”

  • Anonymous

    This project is the construction of a low level platform. It is not an ‘extending a high floor light rail’ system because the low platform could be used for low floor trains, if they were ever purchased, as well as the current high floor trains. Sounds rather like you’re just looking for something to complain about.

  • Andy Chow

    Even for a low platform light rail systems, a lot of money is spent to fully accommodate low floor LRVs. Platforms have been upgraded in San Jose and San Diego. In San Jose, light rail used to have stationary lifts which are time consuming to use. In San Diego, high floor LRVs have onboard lifts. San Jose completely replaced its high floor fleet, but not San Diego.

    Muni already has level boarding at most of its busiest stops. Some surface stops are accessible with mini-high platforms that are not too time consuming.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Enjoy your Muni!

    Because grotesque levels of failure should always be rewarded.

    A post-1990 high-floor streetcar fleet: brought to you by the exact same people who brought you ATCS, the T-Third (slower, more expensive, less frequent and less reliable than a bus!) and the Central Subway (ditto!)

    Muni Muni Muni!  We love Muni!

  • Richard, you’ve been around a been around a long time and not been able to foment change. How should we reward your failure?

  • Andy Chow

    Muni could’ve chosen to keep its PCCs or have steps with low platforms in the subway (Muni raised the platforms at Forest Hill Station and built Castro to replace low platform Eureka Valley Station), which could present a realistic opportunity to introduce low floor vehicles like San Jose and San Diego. But it won’t provide 100% accessibility everywhere unless a lot of money is spent to upgrade the stops with a lot of parking spaces removed (and driveways altered). It would’ve been tougher than San Jose and San Diego.

    I don’t think vehicle floor level would make much difference for T-Third and the Central Subway. They all would be as slow and would face as many traffic signals. Low level platforms encourage jaywalking across the tracks. 

  • Anonymous

    although the weekend closures and the like have been annoying, riding the N today you really can see the improvements coming together. the ride is smoother and the Duboce Church stop is definitely nicer. It’s just a pity we don’t have a 4 way light at Duboce and Church so the trains can pass through and not have to look around and see if any cars are crossing over etc.

  • Tiny Tim

    But I needed those parking spaces to go the 5 blocks from my house to get my nails done, buy overpriced food and haircuts!


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