Bay Area/ San Francisco
Published on May 28, 2015
SFMTA Deems Church Street Transit Lane A SuccessPhoto: Andrew Dudley / Hoodline

Two years after their initial debut, the red transit-only lanes on Church Street have been declared a success by the SFMTA.

The lanes, which are designated for Muni vehicles and taxis only on Church between Duboce and 16th, were installed in March of 2013 as part of the SFMTA's Transit Effectiveness Project (which has since morphed into "Muni Forward"). The goal of the Church Street pilot program was to reduce travel times for transit vehicles and improve reliability. If successful, the Church Street lanes could serve as a model for other congested corridors around the city.

Now, following a "comprehensive data collection and analysis effort," the SFMTA has issued a final report on the Church Street pilot program.

Some highlights from the agency's findings:

  • "The lanes have largely eliminated congestion-related delay through the corridor, resulting in average travel time savings of up to 14% (1 minute)"
  • "The lanes have largely reduced congestion-related reliability issues through the corridor, resulting in average reductions in travel time variability of up to 27%"
  • "The pilot has not significantly increased delay for drivers through the corridor... except at the northbound approach to Duboce Avenue... Delay along the northbound approach to Duboce Avenue has appreciably worsened"
  • "The pilot has not reduced parking supply, and has in fact expanded it by truncating commercial loading hours to better meet local merchants' needs"
  • "Implementation costs—material and labor required to restripe and repaint the lanes—were relatively minor"
  • "The red paint treatment reduces transit lane violations by roughly half"
  • "The red paint treatment has held up well, with the majority of the painted lanes retaining over 90% coverage after 18 months"
  • "The pilot has largely eliminated congestion-related delay on the J Church"
  • "The pilot has eliminated congestion-related delay on the 22 Fillmore inside the pilot corridor, although this delay has been offset by new pilot-related congestion outside the corridor"

Based on these results, the SFMTA recommends three future enhancements:

  • "Move overhead wires so that 22 Fillmore can operate in the transit lane north of Market Street"
  • "For near-term congestion relief, move the curbside bus stop for the 22 Fillmore to the far-side of the intersection, or consolidate it with the stop at Hermann Street"
  • "Signalize the intersection of Duboce Avenue/Church Street to improve transit reliability and minimize conflicts between vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians"

Overall, the SFMTA staff recommends that the pilot program be made permanent. And at their next regular meeting this coming Tuesday, June 2nd, the SFMTA Board of Directors will vote on just that.