The San Francisco County Transportation Authority issued a new report concluding that two dedicated bus lanes running down the center of Geary Boulevard (also known as bus rapid transit or BRT) would be the most efficient and cost-effective solution for decongesting the thoroughfare. The BRT would eliminate bus and auto conflicts by physically separating the BRT lanes from mixed-traffic lanes, pedestrian safety would be improved, and bicycle and pedestrian access would be enhanced.
The cost is estimated to be between $157 million and $212 million, which is significantly less than the surface lightrail ($2.5 billion) or [update] surface-to-subway ($5 billion) options. Additonally, the city would receive federal funds for the BRT, and the BRT would lay some of the groundwork for a future lightrail system. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote May 19 on which proposals should be studied further to determine their specific impacts, designs and costs. A final environmental impact report is expected by mid-2010 and project completion in 2013.