Eyes on the Street: 3 Blocks of Bus Lane on Haight — How About One More?

Photo: Jason Henderson

The SFMTA extended the red Muni-only lane on the east end of Haight Street last week, adding a third block to the red carpet rolled out for the 6-Parnassus and 71-Haight/Noriega lines in November. The lane, which includes a contra-flow block connecting directly to Market Street, lets Muni riders headed downtown bypass the queue of cars turning toward the Central Freeway.

Street Fight author Jason Henderson, who lives on the block of Haight with the bus lane extension between Buchanan and Laguna Streets, said “it works well.” But he also noted that Muni buses are still delayed by queued drivers between Webster and Buchanan Streets, so it looks like the lane should be extended upstream another block. Henderson photographed a 6-Parnassus bus that he said “took about two minutes to crawl half the block to the bus stop.”

Since there is a curbside stop on that block, Henderson suggested that the Muni lane there may need to run along the curb, where there’s currently a car parking lane. Of the three blocks of transit lane on Haight so far, two were carved out of former traffic lanes, and the contra-flow block replaced a parking lane.

Plans to speed up Muni on Haight approved by the SFMTA in November include a transit-priority traffic signal at Haight and Buchanan, replacing the existing stop sign.

Between Webster and Buchanan, drivers still block buses on Haight. Photo: Jason Henderson
  • Bus idling 2 minutes so that cars can idle 95% of the time makes sense to me.

  • shamelessly

    25-passenger bus waiting for a handful of single-occupant cars doesn’t make sense to me.

  • bob tobb

    I think you’re both in agreement.

  • Guest

    How about a BRT-style boarding island for that block?

  • Lego

    Great pic, illustrates the problems and how a simple solution can solve many of them (clearly never was “transit first” – it’s so heartening to see these changes!)

  • Lego

    (cars are, on average, parked 95% of the time)

  • Michael Smith

    Note: a traffic signal, even a Transit Preferential Signal, will do no good whatsoever when buses are stuck behind a queue of cars, as happens at Buchanan.

    Also, it should be noted that the idea for the transit lane between Buchanan and Laguna did not originate with the SFMTA. Instead, it happened because activists pushed for it. So keep pushing!

  • KWillets

    I emailed the planner about this issue before the vote a few months ago. The situation at Buchanan and Haight is particularly strange for the 6 since it will supposedly pull over to the stop on the right, proceed up a right turn lane to the corner, and then go through a transit-only signal phase to move to the red lane on the left. This despite the plan showing the red lane still not extending all the way to Buchanan, as you can see in the first photo; there’s some kind of flare in the Westbound lane there that makes no sense.

    The 7 (limited) also didn’t make much sense since it would continue to be stuck in the traffic lane as it is now unless it does the same right-left slalom. I told them to pull the red lane all the way back to Webster.

    I did notice that they put in some metering devices near Webster to measure the backup.

    The right-left slalom also makes a bulbout at Buchanan impossible. A boarding island might be better, or intelligence/sobriety tests for drivers (you have to be an idiot to sit in line on Haight for 3 blocks).

  • David D.

    An island would have to be at least 8 feet wide. At first glance, it doesn’t look like there’s enough room for one.

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