SFMTA to create emergency transit-only lanes for 3 key corridors

Photo: SFMTA
By Camden Avery - Published on July 01, 2020.

The SFMTA's board of directors voted yesterday to approve three "temporary emergency transit lanes" exclusively dedicated to bus, emergency vehicle and taxi use.

Off-limits to privatecars, the protected lanes are meant to speed buses on heavily used corridors, as San Franciscans start returning to the roads in greater numbers. They'll be marked with easily removable stenciling and white stripes.  

The bus lines affected are the 14-Mission, 19-Polk, 43-Masonic and 44-O'Shaughnessy. They serve a diverse set of neighborhoods: Ingleside, the Outer Mission, Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, Bayview, Mission, SoMa and the Tenderloin.

The exact scope of each zone is yet to be determined, but won't exceed the zones marked red on the map below.

The red zones include Mission, Seventh and Eighth streets in SoMa; Presidio and Masonic avenues in Laurel Heights/Lower Pacific Heights and the Haight; Woodside Avenue near Forest Hill; and Bosworth Street in Glen Park.

The lanes are set to be removed 120 days after the city lifts its emergency shelter-in-place order, with a public approval process required to extend them. 

The maximum potential extent of the new protected temporary lanes is pictured in red. | Image: SFMTA

With ridership down and private vehicle traffic sparse citywide, Muni's bus lines have been able to increase frequency and save time during shelter-in-place. Officials hope that the new emergency lanes will keep that dynamic going. 

Spokesperson Kristen Holland said that the agency plans to step up bus service frequency over the course of the summer, with rail service set to return in mid-August. Some bus routes that are currently offline may resume then as well. 

"We will do everything we can to bring back service as demand increases," she said. 

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