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.