With the stated goal of reducing commute times and increasing safety, city officials began work this past Saturday on a set of transit changes that will profoundly affect that way you navigate Mission Street. The work, which in varying degrees will impact the 2.5 mile stretch of Mission Street between 11th and Randall, is wide ranging and includes the removal of 13 bus stops and the additional of transit only lanes.
The $3.8 million project is part of the larger Muni Forward initiative, with the specific 14 Mission Rapid Project approved by the SFMTA board on December 1 of last year. Changes to Mission Street will be rolled out between now and April, and began this past Saturday with the aforementioned removal of bus stops.
But the changes are much more significant than simply pulling some bus stops, and, according to SFMTA, include the following:
- A transit-only southbound lane between 14th and Cesar Chavez, and transit-only lanes running both directions between 30th and Cesar Chavez.
- No left turns off Mission on any intersection between 14th and Cesar Chavez.
- When driving north, you'll be required to turn right at 26th, 24th, 22nd, 20th, and 16th. Like on Market Street, this will not apply to taxis, bikes, buses, and emergency vehicles.
- Bus stops were pulled Saturday from the 14 and 49 lines on the west side of the street at 5th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, Precita, and 29th, and were removed on the east side of the street at at 29th, Fair, Precita, 23rd, 21st, 19th and 15th. One new stop, at Powers and Mission, was added.
SFMTA's Transit Director, John Haley, spoke with the Chronicle about the changes.
“This is exciting stuff,” he noted. “We’re taking a trip that used to take an hour, end to end, and knocking it down considerably.”
He further said that the agency expects traffic pushed off Mission Street by the changes to move to South Van Ness Avenue — so, you know, just a heads up on that one.
The agency intends the redesign to benefit the more than 65,000 people a day it counts as using Muni along this corridor. In addition, the alterations to what is by any measure a chaotic street will hopefully increase pedestrian and biker safety.
Haley told the Chronicle that if the changes are deemed successful, they will likely continue in some form or another down Mission Street toward downtown.
Expect confusion and congestion over the next few months, and construction crews work along Mission Street and residents are confused by all the changes. After April, however, riding the 14 might just be a more pleasant experience.