The ongoing drama surrounding the presence of commuter shuttles on San Francisco streets is continuing in earnest this week, with several neighbors expressing opposition to the SFMTA's new proposed shuttle stop locations in advance of a public hearing this Friday.
The commuter shuttle program was officially approved in March, with a number of idealistic—but open-to-interpretation—caveats. It requires shuttle bus companies and the SFMTA to take measures to keep larger shuttles on designated arterials and off smaller streets, reduce emissions and vehicle miles traveled, and work with other transportation sources (such as Muni) to maintain efficient transportation for those who don't take the shuttles.
But the shaking up of shuttle bus stops needed to meet these goals is already causing controversy with many residents, who are taking issue with the list of proposed stop changes.
Reader Michael Disend wrote us with concerns about two new commuter shuttle stops proposed near his block—one on the west side of Gough at Pine, and another on the east side of Franklin near Bush.
"It is obvious that the SFMTA is creating a new through-zone for gigantic tech buses and hundreds of tech workers along Gough and Franklin," Disend said. "These proposed changes will radically and negatively transform the environment here, eliminating the last vestiges of peace and serenity."
Over at Oak & Steiner, neighbors are also concerned. "I have opposed the [proposed] Oak & Steiner corner shuttle stop for a variety of reasons," wrote reader Leah Tracy. The stop will "block two private driveways, there are no bulb outs and short sidewalks, already terrible traffic that needs to be fixed, and they'll be taking away three residential parking spots in front of a 20-unit low-income building that does not have a garage."
Image: Leah Tracy
Instead, Tracy suggests the corner of Oak and Pierce as a better solution. "The traffic seems to lessen, making it easier to change lanes," she said, noting that her preferred location also presents an opportunity to connect two transit types. "As a public, we just spent a ton of money building the commuter bike path and lanes [in the Wiggle]. MTA could make this a central area for bike commuters who are also private shuttle commuters, and connect the two transit types. They can make more bulb-outs and add bike corrals to them, so commuters can leave their bikes for the day. Perhaps even add benches and greenery!"
SFMTA rep Paul Rose said that his department has put a great deal of thought into aligning the proposed stops with the guidelines set out for them. "We are trying to get more use out of fewer shuttle zones on fewer streets, to minimize the impact to neighborhoods," he said. "We make decisions, such as these, based on the arterial network, community input, and pedestrian safety by locating shuttles on the far side of the intersection, which is aligned with our Vision Zero goals to improve visibility and pedestrian safety."
A tech bus protest in 2013. (Photo: Chris Martin/Flickr)
If you've received a notice about a stop change near your house, or are just curious about where the stops will end up, you can head to a public hearing on several proposed shuttle stop changes this Thursday, April 15th starting at 10am, in room 416 at City Hall (here is the hearing's full agenda).
The SFMTA Board will hold a vote the following week to approve 11 proposed stop changes that were already discussed at a March 18th public hearing. (A full list can be found here. If you'd like to attend in person, the vote will take place at 1pm at City Hall, in room 400.
We'll keep you updated on the results of the vote, and how the commuter shuttle stop program progresses.