The months-long effort from a vocal contingent of merchants and Supervisor David Campos to undo the recent safety and Muni-focused Mission Street changes has borne fruit, as SFMTA officials yesterday announced that they will officially recommend the removal of several of the key features as an appeasement to drivers.
The changes, which included a transit-only lane and occasional forced right turns along Mission Street between 14th and 30th Street, resulted in almost immediate improvements to Muni reliability and general safety in the corridor. "[The project] reduced Muni collisions by 85 percent," reads yesterday's SFMTA statement. "There were only seven Muni-related collisions in the project corridor since March 27. During the same period last year, there were 45 Muni-related collisions."
And it's not just that buses are getting into less wrecks — pedestrians responded favorably as well. "81 percent of people surveyed post-implementation who regularly walk or take transit to the Mission stated they feel safer or just as safe as they did before the transit and roadway changes were made."
All this has not deterred those opposed to safer streets — an opposition perhaps best summed up in a video captured by the Examiner at a June neighborhood meeting discussing the completed changes. "You ain't been here long enough!" one man yells at a supporter of the project. "When you've been here 70 years, then tell me about it!"
And their frustration is understandable. After all, it's not like there was lengthy community outreach about the Mission Street project before the details were locked down. Oh, wait, yes there was. "The final project design was the result of an extensive community outreach process that involved several open houses in the Mission, door-to-door canvassing of nearly every merchant along the corridor, meetings with over 30 different neighborhood groups, and several online and in-person multilingual surveys," explains SFMTA.
This outreach didn't take place in the distant past either — the SFMTA board approved the project in December of last year.
But still, drivers are upset, so SFMTA has decided to throw the results of that work out the window. According to SFMTA, the agency's Board of Directors is proposing the following changes: "Removing two of the required right turns on Mission at 26th and 22nd," "Relocating the outbound Cortland stop to the nearside of the intersection," and "Exempting taxis from the left turn restriction at 21st Street."
That, however, is not enough for some neighbors, who the Examiner reports intend to continue to fight to undue the safety and Muni-reliability gains made to Mission Street.
“This does not have the community support,” Erick Arguello of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District told the paper. “I think we need to look at it more deeply than just two right turns.”
It appears that the great undoing is just getting started.