Muni Proposes New Bus Route, Curbside Transit Lanes on 16th Street

This month, the SFMTA will hold a public meeting about transit-only lanes on 16th Street and launching a new Muni line to Mission Bay. Image: SFMTA

Muni plans to launch a new bus line this month to beef up service along eastern 16th Street, connecting the BART station at Mission Street to the soon-to-open University of California SF hospital at Mission Bay. The 55-16th Street route would complement existing 22-Fillmore service on 16th, extending beyond the 22’s endpoint all the way to the east end of 16th and then north on Third Street towards its terminus at UCSF.

The line is a precursor for plans to add street upgrades, like transit-only lanes and bus bulb-outs, along 16th to speed up the 22-Fillmore. The SFMTA plans to hold its first community meeting for those plans on January 14, and says they will “reduce transit travel time along the length of the corridor by 25 percent.”

The plans are part of the Muni Forward program (previously known as the Transit Effectiveness Project), which calls for the 22 to be re-routed towards Mission Bay on its eastern leg, which the 55 will do. But an SFMTA report [PDF] says the re-route won’t happen for at least five years, since the 22 relies on overhead wires, which would have to be installed along eastern 16th and are impeded by a Caltrain crossing. Instead, diesel buses will be used on the 55 in the interim.

“After extensive evaluation, SFMTA confirmed that the overhead wire work associated with the proposed 22 Fillmore extension… could not be implemented by the anticipated opening date for the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital at Mission Bay on February 1, 2015,” the SFMTA report says.

The 55-16th Street is set to launch on January 31, and will be presented to the SFMTA Board of Directors for approval on Tuesday. See a map of the route and an overview of transit upgrades proposed for 16th Street after the break.

The proposed 55-16th Street Muni line.
An overview of upgrades proposed for the 22 along 16th Street. Image: SFMTA
  • bagpuss

    will the 55 be all electric busses ?

  • Wouldn’t it make more sense for this line to terminate at 4th and King?

  • Dexter Wong

    There could be a problem with the 55 line crossing the Caltrain tracks at grade if the line is electrified (especially after CAHSR gets started).

  • hp2ena

    That’s what I thought. The argument may be that Potrero Hill already have a Caltrain connection via the 10 and the T, but people are forgetting the Mission area. It’s frustrating to be on a Caltrain that only stops at 4th and King and that it takes too long to meander from 4th/King to 16th/Mission. Maybe people in support could push the MTA Board on that?

  • ipso_facto123

    Could also make sense for it to extend up 16th to Castro? Would use existing F-Market route up to 17th & Castro. Then Castro is more directly connected to Mission Bay and Caltrain…wonder if quicker than T-Third.

  • In the short run there’s no Caltrain overhead to contend with, Muni only has to make sure it’s above the Caltrain trains.

    When Caltrain does electrify and CAHSR gets started trains will be going by so often 16th street will be closed (and Mission Bay Boulevard) will be closed and converted into underpasses. Complete with blind, sunken intersections at 7th.

    Because this will still be the bike route in and out of Mission Bay you can see the bike lane in the rendering, almost completely hidden in the shadow, but you can see how this eliminates overhead wire conflicts with Caltrain.

  • FDW

    No, the 55 will use Diesel buses because there currently isn’t overhead wires on 16th St east of Kansas St. Once overhead wires are installed, the plan is for the 22 to absorb the 55, and for the 33 to be rerouted serve the existing 22 route east of 16th/Kansas.

  • David Marcus

    What about extending the N-Judah up 16th St? It’s pointed right at it and would better connect the Mission with Soma.

  • Thomas

    Yes! Have you seen this proposal for reorganizing SF rail network? http://newmunimetro.com/ The N Judah could, and should, go to Mission Bay and 4th & King by 16th.

  • Thomas

    Caltrain will be electrified way before CAHSR starts operating. Caltrain is on track for a 2019 electrification, i.e. same schedule as the overhead wire for the 22 Fillmore extension.

  • Wow. I wonder what aggregate they’re adding to the street concrete in order to get it so cheerful and lively…crushed abalone shells, pearls, or unicorn horn? Based on the hairball underpass, I think a realistic view requires several applications of a negative brightness filter. (2 minute edit version)

  • jonobate

    Well, this is precisely the reason why the SF planning department wants to remove the last mile of I-280 and send the Caltrain/HSR tracks under 16th St rather than vice versa. This would eliminate the wire issue without creating a horrible sunken underpass.

  • Dark Soul

    55-16th Street next one will be 58-24th street ?? (Didn’t the 53 – Southern Heights serve parts of 16th street? (How many is going just goto there test the new route out?

  • Even in the original CAHSR rendering, trying to make it cheerful with the rose bed in front of the train, added greenery, and decorative fences, they still had the bike lane in shadow.

  • jonobate

    That’s a pretty neat concept. You’d have to combine steps 1 and 2, I think – forcing N and J riders to transfer at Church without the benefit of upgrading the routes with new subway stations would be a hard sell. Also the subway extension of the M to Parkmerced should be much higher priority, as there is a huge ridership heading to SFSU that would be inconvenienced by a forced transfer at West Portal.

    The website is not clear on what route the N would take – it says Duboce in the text, but also shows a connection to BART at 16th/Mission on the map. Personally I would love to see a Duboce/Division route, combined with removal of the Central Freeway. The N could run in dedicated lanes on the surface of Division, then go back underground at 10th/Potrero, stop at a subway station under Showplace Square, then re-emerge the other side of the Caltrain line and connect to the existing track at 5th & King. Pretty neat!

  • Thomas

    Yes, I’m looking forward to see what they come up with for the bus network. I agree, the 19th str subway should be in there, extended to West Portal. But even with the track layout as-is, there’s an immediate benefit: you can increase the frequency of every line, because you’re not constrained by the shared tracks under market. As for the N extension, I think we should prioritize connections, and thus serve 16th & Mission BART.

  • jonobate

    Extending the N to 16th/Mission would be nice, but it would require a TBM rather than cut-and-cover. I guess you could launch the TBM in the triangular block where Safeway is (which could then be redeveloped), and extract in the area where I-280 touches down near 5th/King. Maybe with stations at Church/Duboce, 16th/Mission, 16th/Bryant, Showplace Square, 4th/King. A BART connection for N riders would certainly sweeten the pill of having to transfer to get downtown, and it would make it much easier to get from the Mission to Caltrain.

    All fantasy at this point, of course, but it’s good to see people engaged in improving Muni rather than just complaining about it.

  • Thomas

    You don’t even need to go underground. You can send the N on Church down to 16th Street and build new tracks from there. Then you can go all the way on 16th to connect with existing tracks on 3rd. This is 2.2 miles of new tracks, a little more than 300m$ at San Francisco (ridiculously high) cost of capital investment.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Wow.

    Precisely.

    But that’s OK, because

    (a) Jamison is down with TEP TEP TEP!

    (b) America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals came up with this depicted fuck-awful insane grade separation, just like they came up with the Transbay Terminal catastrophe, just as they came up with with TEP TEP TEP, and came up with not electrifying Caltrain for 50 years.

    In reality, the crazy and never-justified-anywhere (but TEP TEP TEP!) 22/55 reroute is purely about a deal that Willie Brown cut with Catellus, the developer of Mission Bay, in the mid 1990s to increase their property values using the City budget. Muni was happy to go along because:

    (a) nobody at Muni cares about ridership (nuke real Potrero Hill riders for fictitious Potemkin Village Mission Bay? Of course!)

    (b) Stringing wires along 16thi is a Muni capital project, with fuck-tons of staff overhead, and there’s nothing — nothing — that anybody at SFCTA/SFMTA loves more than a capital project.

    Especially one with no — none! — projected ridership increases ever demonstrated, and with major technical (= capital budget blowup) challenges. Burning public money is its own reward.

    If anybody actually has any interest in grade separation of 16th (a good, regardless of never-justified TEP TEP TEP screwing around with the 22), then http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2014/01/focus-on-mission-bay-grade-separations.html is where to go. You know, for actual data and facts.

  • jonobate

    Sure, but that’s not the same as the “NewMuniMetro” plan, which proposes undergrounding the N under Duboce and the J under Church. If you do that, then you can’t send the N on a surface alignment down 16th St. If you don’t underground the N, you’re back to forcing N riders to transfer without any real improvement to the service.

  • Andy Chow

    I suppose that you could sink the through crossing but not the intersection.

    Example here: http://goo.gl/maps/0J4oL

    For automobiles it is just a detour at most a few blocks, but a bike/ped entrances can be built so avoid detour for bike/ped.

  • Fair question, for sure. Another way (alternate or supplemental) to address that need could be to better connect the future re-routed 33 to the 22nd Street Caltrain station. Right now, that part of the current 22-Fillmore route stops at 3rd and 20th, which is close-ish, but not really. (I also sometimes see people deboard Muni at 18th and Pennsylvania and hike over the big hill- that’s my own pedestrian route to the station, but it’s not for everyone.) The 22nd Street Caltrain station has good service for the Peninsula/Silicon Valley employment commute, at least.

    Sorry if the above is confusing- too many 22s!

  • sebra leaves

    Those who live in the area will want to let the city officials know how they feel about the plan. Supervisors Wiener, Campos and Cohen should be contacted as the line crosses three districts. These maps do not look like the last version I saw, but I have seen so many, I could be mistaken. Keeping the 22 in tact and adding a second line makes a lot more sense than what I heard SFMTA was planning.

  • Keeping the 22 in tact and adding a second line makes a lot more sense than what I heard SFMTA was planning.

    It won’t happen for a few years, but the plan approved last year still re-routes the 22-Fillmore into Mission Bay and extends the 33-Stanyan into Dog Patch.

    The full completion of that project depends on new overhead wire, but since that couldn’t be completed in time for the opening of the new Mission Bay hospital it wasn’t include in the two-year implementation of priority-projects (including the busway itself and the two design options SFMTA is ) approved by the Board of Supervisors with the SFMTA budget.

    Here is the map showing the final service plan for the 33 and 22. The SFMTA is saying five years for that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors Arena speeds that up.

  • Guest

    You needn’t run the 19th Avenue subway the entire way to West Portal Station, only across St. Francis Circle to West Portal. Redesigning West Portal Avenue with a dedicated transit way (and eliminate the stop at West Portal & 14th Ave) saves the need to redesign West Portal Station.

    In one of these maps I’m showing the re-routing of the M-Ocean View through Parkmerced recommended for further development along with the dedicated transitway planned for the L-Taraval.

    That transportation study (and there isn’t a no-build scenario, something has to be done) recommended staring the subway between St. Francis Circle, running through Stonestown, SF State, with two stations in Parkmerced, before emerging into a rail/pedestrian/bike bridge over Junipero Serra. The M-Ocean View shoreline would turn back using the spur just after Font.

    That next-step study is funded and getting prepared to kick off. Some things worth noting about this is this design is the community preference and supported by the Stonestown and Parkmerced developers. They’re contributing their land and paying their share because they both have a financial investment in a direct, rapid connection downtown.

    That 19th Avenue transportation study further recommended looking to placing the tunnel portals on West Portal, before the M and K part ways turning St. Francis Circle into a subway station. At that point there are only two blocks on the surface before West Portal Station. Simply closing them to traffic would eliminate significant costs in rebuilding West Portal Station.

    In the second map I’ve shown what that might look like, again combined with the TEP plan.

  • You needn’t run the 19th Avenue subway the entire way to West Portal Station, only across St. Francis Circle to West Portal. Redesigning West Portal Avenue with a dedicated transit way (and eliminate the stop at West Portal & 14th Ave) saves the need to make more significant changes to West Portal Station itself.

    In one of these maps I’m showing the re-routing of the M-Ocean View through Parkmerced recommended for further development along with the dedicated transitway planned for the L-Taraval.

    That transportation study (and there isn’t a no-build scenario, something has to be done) recommended staring the subway between St. Francis Circle, running through Stonestown, SF State, with two stations in Parkmerced, before emerging into a rail/pedestrian/bike bridge over Junipero Serra. The M-Ocean View shoreline would turn back using the spur just after Font.

    That next-step study is funded and getting prepared to kick off. Some things worth noting about this is this design is the community preference and supported by the Stonestown and Parkmerced developers. They’re contributing their land and paying their share because they both have a financial investment in a direct, rapid connection downtown.

    That 19th Avenue transportation study further recommended looking to placing the tunnel portals on West Portal, before the M and K part ways turning St. Francis Circle into a subway station. At that point there are only two blocks on the surface before West Portal Station. Simply closing them to traffic would eliminate significant costs in rebuilding West Portal Station.

    In the second map I’ve shown what that might look like, again combined with the Transit Effectiveness Project plan.

    (please ignore the second posting)

  • Joel

    “Simply closing West Portal to traffic would eliminate significant costs in rebuilding West Portal Station.”

    If you think that making West Portal transit-only (even just the center lanes) is politically viable, I want whatever you’re smoking.

  • I didn’t say anything about the politic viability of closing West Portal, just presenting some context and history to consider.

    Closing the center lanes along a few blocks of West Portal (but still preserving travel lanes and parking) is a much smaller ask than much of what @disqus_Xl8crfDjuj:disqus has proposed.

  • Bryan Deng

    After that service is final, the 55 line will be defunct, and the 22 and 33 lines will be probably renamed “22-Fillmore/16th Street” and “33-Stanyan/16th Street” respectively.

  • In reality, the crazy and never-justified-anywhere (but TEP TEP TEP!) 22/55 reroute is purely about a deal that Willie Brown cut with Catellus, the developer of Missi…

    In the story is a link to the study with the justifications for the new route if you’re interested in facts.

  • (a) Jamison is down with TEP TEP TEP!

    You know you just hate me because I know what I’m talking about.

  • Consider the many fine options for bicyclists:

    1) Before 16th Street … well, there’s some new stuff between there and 4th Street.
    2) 16th Street: this freeway treatment.
    3) 17th Street: dead-ends at the tracks, but you can at least turn up to Mariposa.
    4) Mariposa: freeway onramp/offramp.
    5) 18th Street: freeway onramp/offramp.
    6) 19th Street: you’ve climbed quite a way for a dead-end at I-280
    7) 20th Street: welcome to Dogpatch!

    — Signed, Former 18th Street Resident

  • If there’s one thing the 22 needs, it’s tact. To be in.

  • aslevin

    The 22nd and 4/K connections would serve two different purposes. 22nd is not on the baby bullet schedule, and late at night 4/K is less deserted and better lit.

  • murphstahoe

    “22nd is not on the baby bullet schedule”

    Not correct. This is only true for the “traditional peak”. The reverse peak stops at 22nd and sees heavy usage.

  • To my (retroactive) credit, I was thinking about the “traditional reverse” commute direction, since I saw that being the main Mission->Caltrain flow (since the Mission doesn’t necessarily have a concentration of jobs that would justify a connection for AM commuters from the south). However, Adina is 100% correct that 22nd Street is dark/weird and a significantly less ideal connection point, all things being equal.

    I’ll try to raise the 4th/King connection question at tomorrow’s 22-Fillmore open house, if I can.

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