Muni Approves Upgrades for 28-19th Ave With Bus Bulbs, Fewer Stops

With the upgrades, 28 riders will have roomier bus stops and faster service. Photo: SFMTA [PDF]
Muni’s 28-19th Avenue will get a speed boost from bus bulbs and stop consolidations approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors yesterday. The upgrades, part of the Muni Forward program, are expected to be constructed starting in the fall of 2016 and completed by 2018.

On 19th Avenue, the 28 currently stops on nearly every block, and buses must pull over to the curb to reach passengers, then wait for a break in traffic to continue. If they’re lucky, bus riders won’t hit a red light soon after.

Under the approved plans [PDF], the 28 will operate like it does on Park Presidio in the Richmond: Stops will be spaced every other block, and sidewalk extensions will let the buses remain in the traffic lane while they stop — no more merging in and out. In addition, stops will be moved to the far side of five intersections so buses can clear traffic signals before passengers board. Signals will also have transit priority to reduce the amount of time buses wait at reds.

Riders who squeeze onto the 28 — many of whom are SF State University students — can expect their trips to get quicker and less crowded. Between Lincoln Way and Junipero Serra Boulevard, local buses would speed up by 20 percent on average, or 5 minutes in each direction. The 28 local’s average speed of 9.2 MPH would increase to 12.2 MPH.

“I’ve always felt like a lottery winner when I see a 28-[Rapid bus] pull up,” said SFMTA Board member Joél Ramos. “That route is so painfully slow.”

The 28-Rapid, which already makes fewer stops, would speed up by 1.5 minutes in each direction, and its hours would be extended. The rapid currently runs during a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. Under the new plan it would operate continuously from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m (however, that’s a reduction from the previous proposal of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.). 28-Rapid buses would no longer stop at Lincoln Way or Sloat Boulevard, though local buses would.

Many intersections on 19th, like Lawton Street, would get sidewalk bulb-outs and have bus stops moved to the far side of traffic signals. Image: SFMTA

Of the $23 million needed to implement the project, most ($16.5 million) will come from the Proposition A general obligation bond passed by voters in November. The construction of sidewalk bulb-outs at all 22 intersections on the stretch included in the project would be coordinated with Caltrans’ plans to re-pave 19th in 2018.

In addition to making crossings safer, expanding the narrow sidewalks on 19th would provide more room for riders to wait out of the path of people walking by.

Some have worried that the bus bulbs could result in car drivers “blocking the box” if they attempt to cross intersections prematurely, only to get stuck behind a bus stopping in the traffic lane. But Muni Forward program manager Sean Kennedy pointed out that drivers already seem familiar with the situation, since buses are often too wide to pull completely out of the traffic lane on 19th anyway.

Officials said in-lane bus stops are common on streets around the city, including Park Presidio, where the 28 also stops every two blocks.

“You’ve had stop consolidation in the Richmond section north of the park forever,” Howard Strassner, chair of the local Sierra Club chapter’s transportation committee, told the SFMTA Board.

Strassner, who is a senior, has long dismissed concerns that walking to stops spaced two blocks apart would be a hardship on 19th. “People south of the park can walk just as well as people north.”

“I’m really looking forward to” the improvements, he said. “It’s going to really be a lot faster.”

With transit bulbs, 28 bus riders will no longer have to wait for cars to leave a bus stop. Photo: SFMTA
With transit bulbs, 28 bus riders will no longer have to wait for cars to leave a bus stop. Photo: SFMTA
  • Sprague

    Great news!

  • Frankly this is long overdue. Fifteen years, at least.

  • gb52

    There are many needs on 19th Ave, but this is one that should not take another year and a half to begin to implement. We need to move people now! I hope they work on stop consolidations now and expand rapid service as demand requires. (expand to 6am-8pm if the demand is there).

    BTW, I hope caltrans has lighting improvements in the works in conjunction with their paving project because light poles are constantly being struck by cars and not replaced.

  • Rogue Cyclist

    Can we get longer, articulated buses too?

  • Well it looks like the SFMTA is at it again with “improvements”. Back in my day the bus was a shame cab for poor people and that’s the way it always should be. The city is doing riders a favor and only owes them a semi-decent transit experience.

  • Andy Chow

    People in the Marina don’t like artics in their neighborhood. Muni could’ve used 60′ on 30-Stockton as well but they’re restricted to the short turn trips that don’t go into the Marina. The 28 is crowded enough to have 60′ even on weekends. I think during peak hours the route should be split so that there would be enough service to the Marina (I have waited more then 30 min with no 28 bus leaving) and allow artics on Park Presidio and 19th Ave.

  • “…since buses are often too wide to pull completely out of the traffic lane on 19th anyway.”
    I think that’s more like “…since buses aren’t often pulled completely to the curb in the city of San Francisco.”

  • Andy Chow

    The parking lanes are not necessarily as wide as the traffic lanes anyway. Also the front door may be close enough to the curb but not the rear door of the bus.

  • That happens with my car when I don’t pull over to the curb soon enough, too.

  • jonobate

    Muni are already planning to terminate the 28R at California & Park Presidio, so you could use 60′ buses on the 28R without ruffling any feathers in the Marina. Not that Muni should let what people in the Marina think determine what buses they use, of course.

  • Dark Soul

    The 28 – 19th Avenue or the 28R- 19th Avenue Rapid will never use 60ft buses.They mostly going do it on 30X (60ft buses) and 30 Stockton (60ft Trolley busses) and 14X

  • Bruce

    I’m surprised, Bob, that you believe that the city owes us even a semi-decent transit experience. Wouldn’t it be better if the supes just passed a law outlawing all buses, bikes, and pedestrians? Then the car traffic would really move.

    Quite frankly, I’m disappointed that you only support these half-measures, when we could go so much further to eliminate the scourge of all non-automobile traffic from our fair streets.

  • Bruce

    The 28 travels all of about 5 blocks in the Marina (I’m not counting Lombard Street because no one lives there to complain). I live in the Marina and I would KILL for the 28 and 30 (and especially the always-crush-loaded 30X) to get articulated buses.

  • Jimbo

    this sucks for drivers of cars. buses already take up too much space and block lanes of traffic when stopping. we should be focused on making traffic move faster

  • Jimbo

    what would really be awesome is if we could elevate 19th ave off the street level into an expressway to make it faster for cars

  • OneSF

    They’re going to do a detailed design (whatever that means) for the next year, which sucks cuz these improvements obviously should be implemented asap. But compared to some of the other Muni Forward projects, at least they’ve identified the funding source and are actually going to be going ahead with the project for the next few years. The 22, could definitely use some improvements so it can deal with the new UCSF mission bay hospital and the new Warriors arena, but the construction for the Muni Forward improvements probably isn’t going to even start until after 2019 at the earliest.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Buses are traffic.

  • Thank you, Bruce, Sometimes I get a little soft living in “Progressiveland” Thanks for setting me back on the right track, which does not involve bus lanes.

  • murphstahoe

    There is a gofundme for that. Just write a check to the SFMTA. Get on it quick before these bulbouts go in instead.

  • Bruce

    That’s the Bob we all know and love.

  • vcs

    If our 1960s “City Fathers” had their heads screwed on right, they would have prioritized that instead of the idiotic freeways they actually tried to build. Too late now…

    Marin County is now certain that people use the GG and Richmond bridges to avoid the Bay Bridge. Seems nuts to me, but maybe they’re right.

  • jd_x

    Exactly what I was thinking. It would do absolute wonders for the livability of that area. I mean, then people 20 blocks away — not just right on 19th Ave — could enjoy the wonderful sight, sounds, and smells of thick motor vehicle traffic. After all, it’s much more important that the convenience of people passing through the city trump the quality of life of those living in it, so your idea would indeed be truly awesome.

  • jd_x

    I agree. They should get rid of all those silly buses (I mean, come on: who really takes the bus but second-class citizens, am I right?) so that all those people instead drive … which would definitely, as you say, make traffic move faster. Further, given that buses are like 1% of traffic, I definitely think we should blame the buses for the mess that is 19th Ave and not all the drivers who make up 99% of the traffic yet somehow always find a reason to blame the tiny majority using the road in the most efficient way.

  • jonobate

    Yes! An elevated expressway running overhead would transform 19th Ave into a lovely place for people to stroll around and pass the time, just like Division St is today!

  • bike_engineer

    Transit first policy action in work

  • Thomas

    You know what? They also should bring back the double decker freeway to Hayes Valley!

  • Dark Soul

    Add Bus Red Lane Between Taraval and Judah
    ..
    28R would remain stopping at 19th and lincoln

  • Anon Y. Mous
  • lukebc

    Public transit has ALWAYS been used by EVERYone is SF. “back in YOUR day” the snobs of snob hill would ride the #55 diesel bus or the Cal Cable to their jobs in in the Financial District while the YOUR “poor” MIDDLE CLASS rode the buses and streetcars to Downtown wearing their finest clothes.

    San Francisco is wierd in that it’s an “East Coast town” – like in New York City or Boston or Philadelphia – in that ALL people, REGARDLESS OF INCOME OR CLASS STATUS, ride public transportation and do NOT look upon the public transit bus as “2nd class” like persons in Los Angeles or Dallas or Atlanta or Denver or etc……….

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