Behold the New Muni Map

Coming to a Muni shelter near you.

Tourists and newcomers, be daunted no more. Muni has unveiled its new map.

The complex web of San Francisco’s 82 municipal transit lines has been made more legible through a sleek new layout that will grace Muni shelters early next year. As we wrote in June, the map was developed over ten years by two volunteer cartographers, David Wiggins and Jay Primus, who also happens to be the former manager of SFPark.

The map “helps visualize the service hierarchy,” making it clear “where there’s more service, and where there’s less service,” as Muni’s operations planning and scheduling manager, Julie Kirschbaum, put it in June.

The map also incorporates service changes that streamlined some routes in recent years, such as the new contra-flow transit lane that straightens out the 6 and 71 lines on Haight Street, the new Muni-only left-turn lane for the 29 at Lincoln Way and 19th Avenue, and the two-way traffic conversion at the end of McAllister Street which has sped up the 5. Muni will re-align routes and change frequencies on another 30-plus lines as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project.

The new map also uses an “R” designation for “Rapid,” instead of the traditional “L” for “Limited.” For instance, it lists the “38R” and the “5R” as routes heading out to the Richmond. The 28L is still listed, though it’s unclear if that was just an oversight.

If you want to get a closer, in-person look, the map is on display until February at SPUR’s Urban Cartography exhibit at its Urban Center at 654 Mission Street. A high-resolution version (11 MB) file of the map is available online.

  • Joel

    Varying the amount of emphasis placed on different streets and landmarks has really made the map easier to digest than the old one was. Adding stairways was a nice touch too.

  • I saw this at the SPUR “Urban Cartography” exhibit opening- great stuff!

  • Andy Chow

    I placed the high resolution map here: http://www.transitunlimited.org/User:Andy/Muni_map so that the map can be viewed just like a Google Map.

    I have some comments regarding the map. First is that the route name should be corrected to L. Usage of R is rather editorializing. Muni is not implementing the rapid program like Los Angeles or Oakland, but an upgrade of local and limited service.

    All Muni Metro high platform stops should be noted by a rectangle and a name. The current map marks all non-subway stops the same as bus stops for limited routes. May be this is part of editorializing by the creator to make rapid bus routes equivalent to rail but right now the passenger experience between the high platform stop is different than a street level stop (which is similar whether it is bus or rail), and that the stops for limited routes are basically the same as all other routes, as supposed to other transit systems that have enhanced stops similar to light rail.

  • Easy

    Cool. Would like to see a post-TEP version of it too.

  • The Editor

    Typo on the map: “Pixleh” should be “Pixley”.

  • Transplant206

    Agreed on the R vs. L designation. “Limited” is a much more appropriate description.

    Also, are the actual buses going to use R instead of L?

  • 94103er

    Ooooh nice, they even included the PresidiGo shuttle route! I love it. Not being a frequent visitor to that area I didn’t know that shuttle was so well-funded as to be dependable.

    This map isn’t just fun to read–it somehow helps one visualize where we have ‘deserts’ of access. Like, wow, really no direct service at all to Candlestick Point much less Hunter’s Point shipyard, Heron’s Head Park (there’s a theme here, isn’t there). Would be cool to see another map overlaid with planned service. And did I hear somewhere they’re going to have a shuttle too in the rebranded ‘Shipyard’? And when on earth are they going to fix access to Bayshore Caltrain?!?

  • Sierrajeff

    A lot wrong or confusing here. In GG Park the 44 is a hashed line – meaning “non-stop”, but it does stop – as shown on the map. Conversely the 28L is a solid line on the Park Presidio segment in the park, but it definitely does *not* stop along that route! Also hard to follow the AX / BX lines – e.g., where does the 31AX line go, inbound from Park Presidio?

  • 44 goes pretty close to Heron’s Head, considering the lack of anything on Cargo Way.

  • Sierrajeff

    Some of the turnarounds are hard to decipher too – e.g. look at Fillmore & Jackson, where the 10 and 24 both circle blocks – but after that, which goes where? You have to follow the lines for several blocks to find another number designation (the next “10” east of Fillmore is at Jones; the next “24” south of Jackson is down past Fulton).

  • Amie

    The T third goes within 2 blocks of Heron’s Head. Pretty good, if you can get it.

  • 94103er

    True dat, tho a stub off the route going straight there would be nice. Once you get down Jennings to Middle Point Rd it gets a little drive-by shooty but fully aware big changes are afoot for that area.

  • rickbynight

    Except that bus drivers on the 5 will respond to people asking, “No, this is he 5L, you want the 5 Local.” Turns out, “L” can be for “Limited” or “Local”.

  • Palal

    Does anyone have a historic collection of muni map files?

  • Joel

    Also, “Hazlewood” => “Hazelwood”

  • bosslugger

    could you be bothered to get a hi-res copy of it so those of us over 25 don’t go blind trying to read this “sexiness”?

  • Transplant206

    Yeah, I guess I could see that. Though, “R” could be used for both “Rapid” or “Regular.”

    And there’s also the fact that the bus is actually called the 5L. Not sure if that is changing.

  • 94103er

    May I suggest following the link in the article, plus the extra link provided by Andy Chow in the comments?

  • Andy Chow

    The reason that I don’t favor the R designation is that there’s no program to upgrade the L lines into a completely different and separate product. SF is not as big as LA where they can have stops a mile apart on major arterials. All the TEP components, including the Van Ness and Geary busways, will result in improvements for local service, while limited stop service primarily serve as an addition to local service (follow the same route, sharing stops with local service, but just skipping stops in between). The AX/BX service, which isn’t getting much attention, is more of a separate product from the basic local service than the L lines.

    If it’s not going to be a separate product, why trying to make it look like an upgrade by labeling it “rapid?” In this map, the creators chose the R routes to have the same color as Muni Metro, but are they comparable? It is obvious the creators are telling us what they think the Muni system should be, but the map should focus on reality. We have plenty of fantasy transit maps (especially rail maps) out there already.

  • No doubt a “branding” move that makes management feel like they’ve accomplished something and just confuses everybody else. Kind of like cars labeled “partial zero emissions”.

  • Lane

    This has always confused me — I see L, and I immediately think “local”, as in the opposite of “express”. I don’t think “limited”. Maybe I’d get used to it, but I’m not on those lines often enough to make it stick in my head.

  • hailfromsf

    I really wish they’d just show all the bus stops, like they do for PresidiGo and some of the bigger Muni routes.

  • Pierre

    There is direct service to the Hunters Point Shipyard on the 19, but Muni doesn’t show it on their maps, presumably because access to the shipyard is restricted.

  • Flubert

    Or because hardly anyone goes there?

  • Flubert

    Let me know when you find a Muni bus route that is “rapid”.

  • bosslugger

    I must have missed the link at the bottom of the article the first time I read it – thanks!

  • No stub, but it’s 0.2 miles from the closest stop at Evans/Middlepoint/Jenkins intersection up Jenkins to the park. (Closest stop is also the closest point on the route)

  • Once you figure out which route you’re taking at the bus shelter from the map, you’re supposed to pull out your phone and find out which stop to take. Unless you needed to know where the stops were so you could figure out which route to take–in which case you should have used your phone in the first place.

    I just had to refer to google maps transit directions to make sure that stop I thought was close to Heron’s Head Park was really there in another comment, so yeah, map fail.

    Halloween costume idea: Sexy MUNI Map. Draw some nice looking lines on yourself, but wear enough clothes that you’re not giving anything away.

  • David D.

    Looks good overall, but the “R” designations definitely should be “L” before this becomes an official map.

    Does anyone know what the dashed line on Lincoln Way between 3rd Avenue and 19th Avenue is supposed to be? It’s shown as connecting to/from Park Presidio, which doesn’t make any sense to me, as it’s definitely not the 16X or NX.

    Also, this map really could stand to have some more route numbers added to it. In some cases you have to trace individual lines across town before you can figure out what you’re looking at. Good luck figuring out where the NX goes east of Judah & 19th, for example.

  • Andy Chow

    The more-like rapid routes are actually express, whether they use the freeway or use arterials timed for green lights.

  • TK

    It’s nice to look at and much easier to read. One tiny detail: Middle Drive East in GG Park is now “Nancy Pelosi Drive,” as I would delightedly remind my Republican dad.

  • David D.

    Speaking of which, the Willie Brown Bridge is still shown as the “San Francisco Bay Bridge” on this map. These guys need to get with the program! 😉

  • Roan

    Embarrassing mistake on this new map: they got the one-way directions of Geary and O’Farrell streets backwards. Westbound 38 buses run on Geary and eastbound 38 buses run on O’Farrell, this map shows them the other way around.

  • L_Mariachi

    While they’re at it, could they stop calling the T to Sunnydale “inbound” after Embarcadero? And what is the point of changing the designation to K sometimes-but-not-always?

  • stevenj

    Forget Willie Brown. It’s the SF Oakland Bay Bridge or just simply the Bay Bridge.

  • stevenj

    Historically L has always meant limited, meaning that a limited stop bus stops only where another line crosses. The vast majority of the bus/streetcar lines in SF are locals. So the L designation (as well as X for expresses) are reserved for the lines that will give you an allegedly quicker ride.

  • stevenj

    Another mistake: the 35 terminal at Castro St station is not darkened as are all the other terminal designations are on all the other lines. The 35 also runs as a loop thru the Castro which is not shown with correct directional arrows and they have it running on 19th St when it actually runs westbound only on 20th St to Eureka.

  • rickbynight

    Agreed. While this does make quite a bit of sense in a historical context, it’s not always clear to those not deeply entrenched in the workings of our transit agency. 🙂

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