Eyes on the Street: First Block of Muni’s Red Carpet Rolled Out on Market

Photo: Cheryl Brinkman

The first segment of Market Street’s transit-only lanes was colored red this weekend, on the eastbound side between Fifth and Sixth Streets.

As we reported last week, the SFMTA is planning to roll out the “red carpet” for Muni riders on the existing bus lanes, between Fifth and 12th Streets. Riders on Muni’s F, 6, 9, 9L, 71, and 71L routes should see a faster, more reliable ride, as buses and streetcars will have to dodge fewer stray cars.

Drivers apparently need highly visible reminders to stay out of lanes reserved for buses, streetcars, and taxis. Muni bus operator Mariam Muller told ABC 7, “This is every day, all day” that Muni-only lanes are violated. “It’s very frustrating. A lot of the time, it is just for people to travel down the lane because the other lane is so congested. Bicyclists, they don’t want to use their own lane cause maybe of the congestion of the cars.”

After new red transit-only lanes were added on Church Street in spring of last year, the SFMTA said reliability for the 22-Fillmore and J-Church improved, with 20 percent of vehicles running closer to schedule. Speeds increased by 5 percent.

The Market lanes’ red paint job is expected to be completed in November, according to NBC.

  • Red roads are the first sign of the Carpocalypse.

  • John Rogers

    And right on cue, as I saw this morning, a young woman in a big Volvo SUV drove right down the length of the new red lane, past the TAXI BUS ONLY painted on the street, and sat at the light, surrounded by bright red paint. When she took out her ear buds to hear what I was (politely) saying to her, she said she didn’t notice it was red. And I believe her.

  • The whole place is going to look like Christmas on steroids with all the red and green, and it’s not going to make a lick of difference until the culture of the SFPD catches up with the times.

    I’m afraid I may not live that long, and I’m only in my 50s.

  • It seems to make some difference. Eventual enforcement would be good.

  • There are some crazy things people apparently don’t notice. Recently, I was on my bike on Irving Street at 7th Ave., and I watched a driver stop at the red light before proceeding straight through it across 7th, at a casual speed. Cross-traffic drivers honked. I caught up with him once the light turned green and asked him if he’d realized what he’d done. He was an elderly man, and seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. I believed him.

  • rickbynight

    Just ban ’em. Bus drivers are annoyed when they drive in the left lane, bikers are annoyed when they’re in the right lane. They make up less than 10% of all people along Market street, so why bother?

  • Greg

    I saw and did the same thing to the 2,090,993,999 bikes I saw do this yesterday (run a red light) and the riders I spoke with did one of the following: 1) gave me the bird, 2) spit at me, or 3) took a swing a me with their bike lock.

  • Greg

    And the paints fades/gets wrecked pretty quickly and then looks worse and cost money to re-paint. All because they just won’t enforce the traffic rules. Just enforce the the traffic laws on everyone

  • Greg

    What percent of the folks are Market are on bikes?

  • rickbynight

    Not sure, honestly. Given the ratio of people per bike vs people per car being around 1.4x less (cars seem to average 1.4-ish people per car in SF), and the number of bikes is on the order of 4-7x higher than cars, I’d guess they’re about 3-4x higher than cars. That said, they’ll still be dwarfed by Muni riders by at least an order of magnitude.

  • Jesse

    thanks Troll for this important information

  • Jesse

    Have you seen all those massive bike traffic jams and gridlock because of it? All that honking? That’s right, no one has.

  • mike_napolis_beard

    I think the worst thing cyclists do is equate one bad driver or two with all drivers out there.

  • coolbabybookworm

    Wow, if you saw that many bike riders yesterday then we shouldn’t have any more trouble building bike infrastructure for the whole world or changing the laws so that they aren’t so car-centric. That’s around 1/3 of the globe’s population.

  • coolbabybookworm

    That’s not what is being done in either comments. Both mention an anecdote without extrapolating anything other than some people seem oblivious to the rules of the road.

  • murphstahoe

    pics or it didn’t happen.

  • Greg

    Your computation missed one part – see each biker in SF runs 257 lights per day (every light they encounter) so you have to divide the 2,090,993,999 by 257 (I saw them when they ran each of the lights – I am a god) so that is only actually 8,136,163 people – or a bit more than entire population of the Bay Area

  • mike_napolis_beard

    I was responding to Greg’s hyperbole in an ironic fashion.

  • murphstahoe

    I recall that you are quite the biker yourself.

    Given that 1: You are a biker and 2: You have seen every biker (thus including yourself) run a red light can we presume that 3: You will be showing up at traffic court and voluntarily paying your 257 tickets per day?

  • rickbynight

    Am I fighting against bikes? Pretty sure I argued to ban cars, not bikes…

  • voltairesmistress

    It’s pretty basic: most people commit fewer infractions when 1) the rules are obvious, 2) enforcement is consistent rather than draconian and inconstant, and 3) there is a widespread understanding of why certain rules exist. Looks like we are finally getting 1), will probably see 2) soon, but will not see much of 3) as long as Mayor Lee is at the helm of city government. I think the City could do a better job explaining the utility of car-free transit lanes, backed up by statistics, as well as anecdotes from Muni riders.

  • coolbabybookworm

    a good point! Sorry I missed it until you pointed it out.

  • Kevin

    As a messenger I take 3rd street in the SOMA pretty often where a red lane was recently added. I have noticed fewer drivers in that lane from my observations. Not like I have facts and figures.

  • theqin

    What about 2nd street, it took half an hour yesterday around 3 pm for the 10 bus to go two blocks from Townsend to Bryant, mostly due to cars trying to late merge into the right lane to get on the highway.


SFMTA painting the bus 'Red Carpet' lanes on Mission in the Mission a couple of years back. Photo: SFMTA.

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