Eyes on the Street: Muni Paints More Downtown Transit Lanes Red

The Clay Street bus-only lane in the Financial District is the latest to get the red carpet treatment. Photo: Muni Forward/Twitter

The SFMTA is rolling out more red paint on transit lanes to keep cars out of Muni’s way.

The agency is currently coloring the two-block bus-only lane on Clay Street in the Financial District, which is expected to be done tomorrow. This Muni Forward project, aimed at speeding up the 1-California and 41-Union lines, is also set to include an extension of the transit-only lane one block west to Montgomery Street, which must first be approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors. That extension is scheduled to go on the ground in April.

The SFMTA has not stopped painting the town red since rolling out the treatment on transit-only lanes on Church, Market, Third, Geary, O’Farrell, and eastern Haight Streets, as well as a left-turn lane at 19th Avenue at Lincoln Way

On Church, which was the “pilot” for red lanes, Muni found that its J-Church and 22-Fillmore lines sped up by 5 percent, and that the buses and trains are 20 percent more reliable, arriving closer to their scheduled arrival times.

On Sansome Street near the Clay transit improvements, the SFMTA also plans to create a three-block contra-flow transit lane extension to eliminate a detour for Muni’s 10-Townsend and 12-Folsom lines. That’s set to go in by spring 2016.

  • Jim

    In addition to the red treatment on Clay, the transit-only lanes on both Clay and Sacramento need expanded hours. It’s disappointing that the lane on Sacramento ends at 6pm from Kearny to Larkin. The lane stretching from Drumm to Larkin should end at a later time, perhaps 8pm. Traffic on Sacramento is always backed up in the evening by drivers wanting to turn left onto Stockton, Powell, and Mason.

  • hp2ena

    YES. I’d would very much like to see transit-only lanes on the 1 run full-time between Larkin and Downtown. The only problem I see with this is my neighborhood association *cough*

  • Transit only lanes are only as effective as the enforcement. And we all know how seriously SFPD enforces traffic laws, right?

  • And to get in before the erroneous complaint(s): These are all already Bus Only lanes (for at least some part of the time) that are being painted red.

    The change is red paint, not that the lane is being “stolen” and turned into a transit lane.

  • Bruce

    I believe that’s planned as part of this project (at least on Clay). They just need approval from the SFMTA board.

  • Jim

    The proposal for Clay between Montgomery and Sansome is to modify the part-time TOL to a 24-hour TOL. There isn’t a lot of traffic on that block, even when there are multiple drivers illegally making a right-turns onto Sansome. At Battery, the lane is usually blocked by right-turning drivers. This is further exacerbated by taxis queuing up and hotel guests parking their cars in the right turn lane.

    The 1 can run relatively fast on Clay between Montgomery and Front. The 1 on Clay runs at its slowest between Mason and Kearny.

  • Kenny Easwaran

    It’s not just enforcement – it’s also getting people to pay attention to the law. We know that speed limits are hardly ever enforced, and yet if you have appropriate-sized lanes and good street trees, people are less likely to speed. Similarly, if you paint the bus lane red, more people will notice it and treat it as special, even if you don’t enforce it. It’s much cheaper to put out some red paint than to station cops there every single day forever.


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