As predicted, the freshly painted red transit-only lanes up and down Mission Street, which are being implemented along with other changes in a $3.8 million project, have resulted in confusion and consternation among drivers. In one intersection I've observed daily, cars headed north on Mission can't cross Cesar Chavez and stay on the street — they're directed right, many of them honking, onto Chavez.
“This is exciting stuff,” SFMTA's Transit Director, John Haley, said in advance of the changes, which ABC7 says were 10 years in the making. “We’re taking a trip that used to take an hour, end to end, and knocking it down considerably.”
The paint hasn't dried everywhere and the work isn't finished on the two-and-a-half mile stretch of road, but the Chronicle says that Supervisor David Campos met with SFMTA officials twice last week in an effort to revisit the plan.
“Most people working by, living on and driving down Mission Street will tell you that the new transit-only red carpet lanes are anything but glamorous,” Campos wrote on his Facebook page. “While I understand the intention was to enhance the commute of transit riders, the changes look better on paper than in practice.”
Though speedier for taxis and buses, some say the changes come at the expense of the vibrancy that marks the Mission Street corridor. "There’s a definite loss of activity on Mission,” longtime local Erick Arguello told the Chron. “It’s visible. You go out there around noon and there is usually a lot of hustle and bustle. But now, it’s just silent except for buses rolling by. It’s a dramatic change.”
There have also been concerns from small business owners, as the Examiner reported last week, with some saying they've seen a drop in business since the lanes were added.