Despite evidence that the Mission Street transit-only lanes have drastically reduced collisions, and the dearth of evidence that they have negatively impacted merchants, Supervisor David Campos and SFMTA's Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin announced yesterday via press release that they are moving ahead with a plan to revisit the street improvements made just a few months ago.
The changes to Mission Street between 14th and 30th, which include transit-only lanes and forced right turns for private vehicles, have been lauded by transit advocates and have shown to have a huge impact on safety in their short existence.
"With eight full weeks of post-implementation results, Muni reliability has improved and travel time has dropped and continues to drop," reads the SFMTA press release. "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."
In response to a completed projected that has demonstrated benefits for Muni and its ridership, it seems Campos's intention is to try to radically rework the project — after the fact. "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 observed in the press release.
These comments were a dialed-down version of ones the supervisor made in late March on Facebook, when the literal red paint on the project had barely dried.
"While I understand the intention was to enhance the commute of 65,000 transit riders, the changes look better on paper than in practice," wrote Campos. "I have heard from many of you — car commuters frustrated by traffic jams that stretch multiple blocks; pedestrians concerned about increased safety risks because of irate drivers; residents along the corridor dealing with nonstop yelling and honking horns; and small businesses unable to get goods into their stores because unloading zones have been taken away. That’s why I’m calling on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to make a radical shift in the program."
"We look forward to announcing a solution shortly," Campos continued.
We know now that, according to the press release, the first part of the "solution" to the street-improvement project will be "a community hearing, merchant walks in the project area, and a survey of residents and visitors on Mission Street."
With over 65,000 Muni riders traveling on Mission Street daily (compared to, according to SFMTA, 8,000 cars), it is perhaps a bit confusing why the ability of private cars to cruise down the middle of the street is being given so much consideration. One thing, however, is for sure: Changes are coming.
"I believe we will be able to tweak the project in a way that works for everyone,” explained Reiskin.
Sure you will.