New Muni-Only Lanes Streamline Buses on Haight, Lincoln at 19th Avenue

A new left-turn Muni lane at Lincoln Way and 19th Avenue now provides a quicker ride on the 29-Sunset. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Muni riders have just gotten some sweet new transit-only lanes to speed up their commutes. Red paint is on the ground for two new bus lanes: One at Lincoln Way and 19th Avenue, and another on the east end of Haight Street.

A new left-turn lane, exclusively for Muni buses, went into operation this week at Lincoln and 19th, streamlining the ride for commuters on the 29-Sunset. The new lane and traffic signal mean that northbound 29 buses no longer must endure a car-clogged detour onto 20th Avenue and Irving Street. The block-long detour typically took anywhere from three to seven minutes, according to the SFMTA.

The re-route required a new bus stop inside Golden Gate Park, replacing the former stop where buses would load on the other side of Lincoln, before crossing the intersection. A new sidewalk and waiting area have been built, and the SFMTA says a shelter will be added as well. In the meantime, temporary signs explain the change.

The new stop, which is also now used by buses on the 28-19th Avenue and 28-Limited lines, provides an extended curb so that buses can load in the traffic lane. That speeds up buses, since they no longer have to pull out of traffic only to merge back in. The SFMTA does plan to replicate the new configuration by adding bus bulb-outs at other stops along 19th.

The new left-turn traffic signal is only activated when it detects a bus approaching the intersection, and the signal phase lasts only a few seconds so that other motorists can’t use it.

The new stop on 19th sits inside Golden Gate Park, across the street from the old one. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Another view of the Muni left-turn lane on Lincoln. Photo: Aaron Bialick

This isn’t the only new bus-only lane that Muni riders will get this month. Down at the east end of Haight, a red Muni-only lane is going in right now on the two easternmost blocks, which will streamline trips for the 6-Parnassus and 71-Haight/Noriega (which also runs through Lincoln and 19th). Similar to the 29-Sunset’s lane, the Haight bus lane will alleviate riders’ headaches by allowing Muni to bypass drivers waiting to turn right onto Octavia Boulevard (and from there to the Central Freeway), combined with a contra-flow bus lane that eliminates a one-block detour on to Page Street.

As Hoodline reported, the red paint on Haight is on the ground, and that project is expected to be completed next week.

On Haight between Laguna Street and Octavia, riders on the 6 and 71 lines will get an exclusive lane to bypass freeway drivers. Photo: Andrew Dudley/Hoodline
On Haight between Octavia and Market Streets, a contra-flow transit lane gives the 71 and 6 lines a more direct route to Market. Photo: Andrew Dudley/Hoodline
A view of both blocks of Haight. Photo: Jason Henderson
  • 94103er

    Bus lanes may finesse that correlation in some cases but they are only viable in a limited number of city locations, like Market Street and some key intersections.

    [citation needed]

  • RoyTT

    No citation necessary; only logic and common sense are needed. How do you add a bus lane to a street with bus routes that only has one lane, like Haight Street?

    And don’t even start with “just take out the parking” unless you want the entire neighborhood on your case.

    Moreover, if you’re on a street where there is one bus every 15 minutes, then it’s impossible to justify a bus lane because of the un-necessary impact on other road users.

    A bus lane is OK on Market Street and a few over-stressed intersections. You need to make a better case to expand them elsewhere.

  • Dark Soul
  • RoyTT – As an actual Haight Ashbury and former Noe Valley resident, I find your version of events to be grossly inaccurate.

    The plans for the Haight/Stanyan site redevelopment had a token amount of housing and tons of parking. The neighborhood wisely nixed that. The McDo across the street was a bone of contention from day one and continues to be.

    Real Foods on 24th was shut down to stop union organizing in advance of selling off most of the stores to a Utah-based chain. It had nothing to do with parking; the store was never lacking in customers.

    There is a Real Foods on Stanyan, a few blocks away from the Whole Foods. It has no parking, yet continues to thrive.

  • @Bruce – The SFMTA proposed replacing two parking spaces with two more from a removed bus stop, but people screamed about losing “their” spaces.

  • Bruce

    I haven’t found that in any documents dating back to 2011 when the project was approved (see for an example). Was it discussed at community meetings?

  • Andy Chow

    I dont think it is a good idea to engineer something that can create a safety issue even with the law. I wonder which is more realistic? Drivers not block the box or cyclists stop at stop signs?

  • SF_Abe

    Yeah (maybe), but congestion is not the ideal metric. There may have been less (automobile) congestion, but fewer people moving through any given point.

    Those busses carry LOTS of people.

    Point to one street that is congested with busses. Market has the most bus traffic, and if there were no private autos (trucks, cars, taxis, etc.) things would still pretty much flow smoothly.

  • RoyTT

    Jym, I’ve lived in Noe and the Haight as well. That “thriving” Real Foods on Stanyan is notorious for having super-high prices. Hardly a model for the city unless your vision is that only the rich can live here. Or those who have all the time in the world and don;t need to do one huge shop once a week.

    Why is it so expensive? Maybe because there is no parking? Ditto for the one on 24th Street. Real Foods makes WholeFoods look cheap.

    And I don’t get why WF’s re-do of Stanyan was so controversial when that McDo is the biggest waste of space I know of anywhere around that area, and that is saying something. Where’s the outrage?

    The east side of that block is chronically under-utilized with surplus parking. Why not integrate the two?

  • murphstahoe

    So you are saying we should not have the bus stop because drivers will block the box. By your metaphor we should get rid of stop signs because cyclists will run them

  • NoeValleyJim

    Just take out the parking. Or make the street transit and delivery trucks only. There are many municipalities that do the latter, I would like to see San Francisco start to experiment with some of them here.

  • NoeValleyJim

    You do know that percentage wise more car drivers run stop signs than bicycles do. Right?

  • Gezellig

    “Yeah (maybe), but congestion is not the ideal metric. There may have been less (automobile) congestion, but fewer people moving through any given point.”

    Yes. This.

  • SF Guest

    I agree it is not the ideal metric to demote Muni service.

    The only point I attempted to make is when you make the quote “Cars can sit in their own mess– they’re the vehicles causing congestion.” buses also contribute to congestion. Bus-only lanes can arguably be only installed on select streets so the vast majority of streets buses must share the road with autos.

    My comment wasn’t intended to infer buses are a hindrance and more of a nuisance than a benefit. Since I’m now aware of how sensitive the bloggers on this site are sensitive to any pro-car comment made I should have spelled out what I meant. I made this comment for you to see autos are not the only source of congestion.”

    “they’re [cars are] the vehicles causing congestion.”

  • SF_Abe

    I got your point. I don’t think im being “sensitive” just because your comment was pro-car.

    There are not enough busses on the streets to cause congestion by themselves. It is only when you add private autos (trucks, cars, taxis, etc.) that there is an appreciable amount of congestion.

    Since private autos would be stuck in traffic, even if there were no busses within city limits, I made the assertion that “congestion” is solely due to private autos.

  • murphstahoe

    buses also contribute to congestion

    So do deer on the Golden Gate Bridge.

    24th Street in Noe Valley is congested all the time. The buses run at most one every what, 8 minutes?

  • SF Guest

    “buses also contribute to congestion”

    Right! That was my point to SF_Abe, but some other readers interpreted my comment as being pro-car and anti-Muni which isn’t the case.

    I didn’t know there are deer on the GG Bridge, but I’ll take your word for it.

  • murphstahoe

    No. I was quoting you and then used that metaphor to point out that buses do NOT contribute to congestion. The number of buses on our streets is trivial compared to private vehicles. And any argument that a street without a bus is less congested than one with a bus neglects to consider that buses are a net negative for congestion because the passengers of the bus are not in private vehicles. Unless you try to make the point that buses generate trips that would otherwise not happen, which is easily refuted in that private vehicles do the exact same thing, many times over.

  • SF Guest

    Thank you for clarifying this.

  • Sprague

    As read on Streetsblog (or on a link from the same article a few months ago), the SFMTA studied the impact of this new bus stop location on northbound 19th Avenue congestion and found it would be minimal.

  • John McCready

    Way to flaunt that prejudice against car drivers! Make it next to IMPOSSIBLE for them to have ANY ROOM on the street for them to drive on! I am sure the tourists will love it, and those who don’t even know the Muni system, will flock in droves on to these street-hogging buses!

  • Alex Brideau III

    Right. Because car drivers have been so oppressed over the last 50-60 years.

  • Gezellig

    One of the really funny things about privileged majorities is they never seem to get…privilege. And how even the smallest emergence of something else brings on cries of oppression.

    Oh no, we’re going from 200% car-centric infrastructure to only 198%! Restore Balance!

    What these viewpoints also erroneously assume is that traffic demand is static, when it’s the car-centric infrastructure that creates its own demand for so much car traffic. The better alternatives you create = the fewer will drive = less road competition with other cars. Imagine if SF had no transit or bike infrastructure and everyone in the following scene were in their own car. It’d be pandemonium on the streets:

    Look how few drivers there are in the background and how much available space there is for those who do drive…precisely because the infrastructure here supports so many other modes. Yet it’s amazing how so many drivers just completely don’t get it. Instead of appreciating how many cars these take off the road clearing up room for them they perversely see the minority of space in the city devoted to transit/biking/walking as taking away room from *them* to drive on! Selfish. Insane. Unrealistic. Archaic.

  • Bruce

    No car lanes were removed for either of these projects. The only tangible difference to motorists (aside from reduced congestion) is that left turns off of eastbound Haight are now prohibited at Octavia.

  • Guest

    Just note the Red Bus Lanes are only to improve safety and reliability for specially for bus. Not car,bike,people.

  • @RoyTT – Yes, the Real Foods on Stanyan has ridiculous prices but there’s no basis for blaming a lack of parking for that, in fact it makes no sense whatsoever. As I mentioned, McDo was protested when it went in, and the current owner’s attempt to turn it into a drive-through was vehemently opposed.

  • 94103er

    Got it, thanks for stopping by again Guest…I mean, Dark Soul


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