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Open Thread: Muni Approves a Handful of Temporary Bus-Only Lanes

Yesterday, Muni's board of directors approved a plan to open "temporary emergency transportation lanes" for three of its routes:

    • 14 Mission and 14R Mission Rapid: Mission Street in SoMa
    • 19 Polk: 7th and 8th Streets in SoMa
    • 43 Masonic and 44 O’Shaughnessy: Locations on Presidio, Masonic, Laguna Honda, Woodside, and Bosworth streets

The transit lanes would be installed in late summer and striped only with white paint, “Bus/Taxi Only” stenciling, and signage. Lanes will automatically be removed within 120 days after the county's temporary COVID-19 emergency order is lifted, unless there is a public process to make a lane permanent.

SFMTA watched ridership plummet because of COVID, but also saw transit speeds go way up because traffic has been light. The bus routes that already have transit-only lanes saw less time savings, which was a pretty convincing argument for quickly instituting new bus-only lanes as traffic goes back up.

Even with lower ridership than pre-COVID, those buses still carry more people than the cars around them. SFMTA director Jeff Tumlin tweeted out a timely reminder that default planning practices have typically valued the time savings of a single driver over that of bus passengers.

To read more about the plan, visit Muni's COVID-19 response page or read this story in SF Weekly. SBSF Editor Roger Rudick will doubtless have more to say about this when he returns from vacation next week, but in the meantime let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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