THE SF MUNICIPAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY (SFMTA) held a community meeting on June 20 the Mission Cultural Center to discuss the effects of the transit-only lanes and turn restrictions implemented along the Mission Street corridor from 14th Street to 30th Street, which have drawn major backlash from drivers and businesses who say access to the street has become much more difficult since the implementation of the changes.
Businesses along the street have reported revenue losses since the change and blame a reduction of parking spaces, though the Transit Authority reports an overall increase in parking spaces along the corridor due to the removal of bus stops. Some transit riders are dismayed with those removals, citing an additional burden on seniors and transit riders with disabilities.
Supervisor David Campos has been leading an effort to find a compromise agreeable to all users of the street after negative feedback began pouring in to the impending changes. Several stakeholder meetings, closed to the press, have been held to discuss the effects of the changes.
“While I wholeheartedly support the goal of improving Muni reliability and speed, I want to make sure that the project works for everyone and takes into account the unique aspects of the Mission,” Campos said in a written statement.
Residents and business owners have continued to advocate for changes to the new system, and the advocacy group San Francisco Transit Riders has defended the changes. Meanwhile, the Transportation Authority says the transit-only lanes have improved Muni service and brought down collisions:
With eight full weeks of post-implementation results, Muni reliability has improved and travel time has dropped and continues to drop. Furthermore, Muni has seen only one collision in this corridor since late March. Prior to project implementation we experienced three to four per week, which hampered reliability and forced buses out of service. While construction was only recently completed, there has been a significant amount of positive feedback from Muni riders and neighborhood residents. The feedback ranges, but is focused on the appreciation of an improved Muni experience and a feeling of Mission Street being a safer place to walk – primary goals of the project.
Thus far, stakeholder meetings have not produced a compromise, but according to a statement from the Transit Authority’s director Ed Reiskin, the search for a middle ground is not over.
“The SFMTA did not intend to impact businesses and I share merchant concerns about ensuring vibrant commercial activity in the short- and long-term. With our continued work together on this project, I believe we will be able to tweak the project in a way that works for everyone,” wrote Reiskin.