Mission Street could become a pilot corridor for a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) program aimed at speeding up Muni, agency representatives told area residents at a meeting earlier this month.

The transit agency is floating several proposals to speed up eight heavily used but notoriously slow lines, including the 14-Mission and the 22-Fillmore.

Julie Kirschbaum, a service planning manager with SFMTA, noted that, unlike other areas of the city where Muni use is heaviest during the morning and afternoon hours, the Mission, like downtown, is a destination throughout the day.

“The Mission is acting like a downtown; we think it needs to be treated like a downtown area,” Kirschbaum said.

At the meeting earlier this month at the Women’s Building, the agency laid out its proposals for the Mission. The plans include right-turn pockets where parking will be eliminated, the reconfiguration of Mission Street, and the elimination of some bus stops. The latter has so far been the most controversial.

Currently the 14-Mission has about 50 stops along its 69-minute, 7.5-mile route from the Ferry Building to Daly City. In some areas this translates to a stop every block or two. The Mission corridor from 16th to 24th streets accounts for 15 minutes.

To speed up the journey, the agency is proposing to eliminate bus stops at 15th, 17th, 21st, 23rd, Precita and 29th streets.

Seniors at the meeting said removing some stops would be a hardship for them.

“A block on Mission Street is a long block,” said one.

“As I keep getting older, the less able I am to stand and wait,” said another.

Kirschbaum said she understood the difficulty, and suggested they could take advantage of the SFMTA’s paratransit services.

Someone asked about the possibility of dedicating stops just to seniors and the disabled.

“It works on paper but in actual operation it creates problems, because operators have to make judgment calls,” Kirschbaum said. “It will lead to complaints.”

The Bay Citizen reported last year that an attempt to eliminate bus stops in the Tenderloin proved to be difficult. Residents argued that the changes would benefit wealthier commuters, and in the end Muni eliminated three stops rather than the proposed five.

Road Configuration Proposals

The SFMTA’s road reconfiguration proposals for Mission Street would eliminate a parking lane or transit lane in one direction. One of these alternatives might be implemented on a pilot basis this year, said Kirschbaum.

“It will be done with input from the community,” she said, adding that it is has not yet been decided which road reconfiguration option will be implemented.

Parking issues — changes in pricing or eliminating spaces — have been a touchy subject for merchants who fear that either could cost them customers. No merchants attended the meeting earlier this month, but the agency is in contact with the merchants association, Kirschbaum said.

Some of the proposals, such as removing some bus stops and allowing all-door boarding, will be implemented citywide, but others are specific to heavily used Muni lines. The proposals for Mission street could shave travel time by 8 to 10 minutes each way, according to the transit agency.

The 14-Mission, the third busiest line in the city, is particularly slow, with speeds topping out at six miles an hour — two miles an hour slower than Muni’s average.

On Mission Street, the 14 and the 49 lines are constantly delayed by double-parked cars and cars turning right, according to transit officials. The bus doesn’t even fit the bus lane on Mission between Duboce and Cesar Chavez, which is 9 feet wide; the bus, including the mirror, is 10.5 feet wide.

Mission Street between Duboce Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street currently has six lanes — two traffic lanes in each direction and a parking lane on each side.

There are three options on the table to reconfigure the road. One would establish tow-away zones during peak hours, another would remove parking on one side of the street to create a transit-only lane, and a third would remove a northbound traffic lane in favor of dedicating a lane to Muni.

Residents can weigh in online.

The proposal to establish tow-away zones during peak hours is already in effect in some parts of downtown.

The SFMTA has a unique opportunity to make the Mission a pilot area because the Department of Public Works is currently repaving the road, Kirschbaum said.

Creating Right-Turn Pockets and Establishing Left-Turn Restrictions

The SFMTA is proposing to create 26 right-turn pockets on Mission Street, many of which are on the Mission corridor.

Drivers would be restricted from turning left between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m at these Mission Street intersections: 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th and Cesar Chavez.


The 22-Fillmore would be subject to many of the same time-saving proposals, such as all-door boarding and the elimination of bus stops. Its route could also be subject to some road reconfiguration.

As the Mission Bay neighborhood grows, traffic congestion will likely worsen along 16th Street, according to the SFMTA. The agency is proposing eliminating parking during the morning and afternoon commutes in favor of giving Muni its own lane.

Another proposal calls for restricting left turns in most locations from Seventh Street to Dolores.

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Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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  1. Do not remove any parking spaces. I say limit the number of stops. The average age in the Mission as of census 2010 is 33 years old.

  2. The philosophy that the mission should be treated like a downtown is a dangerous idea. The Mission is not downtown. And nobody wants it to be. That’s why so many people enjoy it as much. It is a n eclectic neighborhood that generally speaking is supported by a community who values smart ideas, communal incolvememt and an alternative approach to solving problems. Faster muni service is better for everyone but focusing on that one area would be a mistake. Keep choices of transportation open to encourage a simbioyic flow an the character of the mission can be preserved.

  3. I live on Capp St. between Mission and SVN, and I walk, bike, drive, ride transit, and shop in the neighborhood. I think the buses on SVN is a major improvement. SVN is wider and the (bus and car) traffic flows faster. SVN is NOT a residential street — it is a major arterial and always has been. The 12 could run on SVN too, increasing overall frequency and improving bus service along the corridor.

    Alternately, what about no private autos on Mission Street, deliveries only? If all auto traffic had to turn right at the end of each block, there would be more room for transit and shopping pedestrians. I have greatly enjoyed shopping on Mission since the buses are on SVN, much more than before; so, I imagine the improvement would be similar if cars were diverted elsewhere instead.

    1. The reason more buses should run on one street is for better bus service, a shorter wait time. Transit riders know this.

    2. I ride transit. There are buses back to back in South Van. I will celebrate the day they return to Mission
      the last I checked all of this is going to save two minutes. Not willing to pit up with the noise, and hassle. Please walk to Mission.


    3. The talk of shifting buses off of Mission and restricting cars has everything to do with creating another Valencia St. Why do you think the 26 was eliminated?

      The same people screaming for public transit have a history of dumping it in to other neighborhoods.

      Keep the noisy buses on Mission. You wont be able to hear them over the noise of the clubs and partyers.

    4. You are right about the one street…….Mission St. That is why all these plans are being made to speed up the buses.

  4. Now that the bus lines on Mission St. have been diverted to South Van Ness, what a difference! It is so niche to see so much more foot traffic. It is really pleasant on Mission. Actually, So. Van Ness would be great to keep the bus lines (14, 14L, 49, et al) on until Cesar Chavez where they could make a right then a left onto Mission and just opposite on the way back in, down Mission right on Chavez, left on So. Van Ness.

    1. Lilia


      South Van is a short st in comparison. Why slow Mission and dump it buses and cars onto a street that is in fact less commercial than the streets I mentioned?

      Valencia was wider until lanes were cut. Folsom wider until lanes were cut. Bryant was wider until lanes were cut. Harrison was wider until lanes were cut.

      Let’s follow the same plan and slow South Can as the others and keep Mission dealing with the heavy traffic.

      South Van is not going to be the dumping ground foreber

      1. Sounds like the Capp St resident is slowly trying to privatize the street. Not going to happen.

        The 12 Folsom belongs on ……mmmmm…..Folsom St. We don’t want another bus on our street. We want to be able to walk bike and shop on our street as well.

        We will get calming measures ala Valencia St unless of course we don’t fit the profile of those who’s neighborhoods should be calmed and cleaned up.

        1. Divert the cars to Capp St. Of course that is unreasonable. The idea is to speed up buses not choke traffic.

          If the cars are forced right where will they go? These ideas are really getting off track. Please no more hidden agendas. If you want another Valencia St say it.

          Personally……one is enough. The traffic can be calmed with traffic signal timing which seems cheaper.

          1. It seems odd that someone who lives on Capp would suggest that the 12 should be moved to South Van unless that person is just being vindictive. What purpose would there be in the 12 being moved?

            Why is south van the only st that should move fast while others are spared?

  5. People have been saying that stops should be eliminated for decades. Its about time SFMTA listened to obvious solutions to obvious problems presented by people that know their system better than do the revolving apparchicks that work at the agency.

    1. Do you live on South Van? I doubt it. The buses belong on MISSION. The same reasons that you think it is quieter on Mission makes South Van nosier. Keep the buses on a commercial corridor. The volume is far ti great to be on South Van.

      The residents of South Van knew these wacky ideas would come as soon as the buses were shifted TEMPORARILY.

      Should South Van be FORCED to handle all of the Mission’s traffic. Be reasonable people. We are not the dumping ground.

      Our street needs to be beautified like all the others have been or are about to be.

      South Van is a about a mile long and should not be used as a thouroughfare.

      Other streets such as Folsom and the likes are longer and go all the way to the waterfront and they have been slowed way down. Even Valencia is longer. Makes you wonder why South Van is the chosen race track for M.U.N.I. big rigs and others.

      1. You think there is more foot traffic on Mission because the buses are on South V? That is really not the case.

        But let me get this right. You think that a residential area should be sacrificed for a commercial district?

        The noise is overwhelming and can be handled better on Mission St where it has been forever.

        Believe it or not the South V residents are not pleased by the buses and will let SFMTA know their feelings.

        1. If people want to split the load why not think about all of the gas buses use Valencia….see how far that idea goes. Just have the buses shoot right down the middle in a transit lane. You could have bikes on the right, cars in the traffic lane and buses in the middle. They can enter Valencia from Mission heading inbound and reverse on the way back. Think about how great it would be….why share this wonderful opportunity with South Van residents who obviously dont deserve it.

          1. Pleasant on Mission because the buses are not there conversely means that it is unpleasant on South Van Ave with the buses there.

            A commercial corridor is a better fit for buses….no brained.

  6. How about moving the 49 to S.Van Ness to break up the congestion of busses on Mission? The current re-route during the paving of Mission St. has not seemed to noticeably impacted SVN, and it’s only one block further away…why not keep the 49 there when Mission opens to bus traffic again?

    1. No, no, and no. “has not seemed to noticeably impacted SVN? From what perspective? The temporary relocation of busses onto South Van Ness has increased the noise level, the dirt, and the trash left on the sidewalk. We are already the preferred route for emergency vehicles (fire trucks, ambulances). We don’t need the 49 bus on top of that.

      1. Nail on the head Mel……send your concerns to Supervisor Campos , the M.T.A. and the Mayor’s office if you have time. South Van has become the dumping ground of traffic in the Mission and the street had reached the tipping point.

        By the way I do take public transit and have never been late to work due to Muni…..never.

        Try taking public transit in the suburbs and tour complaints about M.U.N.I. will seem ridiculous.

  7. I am not shocked by the plan.

    Let’s just funnel all of the traffic onto South Van Mess is the solution. I recall at the CC calming meetings the the surrounding areas were told that their neighborhoods would not suffer. Well that was not quite the truth. A series of no left turns from Division on to Folsom or Bryant leaves Harrison and South Van if you want to get to Cesar Chavez. God forbid you use a street lime Mission to do so..

    A no left turn from CC to Mission will drive more traffic to South Van and others.

    Which do the residents of South Van and other streets thank for this plan?

    The streets were designed the way they were because many people need to move through the city. As advanced as we have become we have reinvented the wheel in to a square.

    1. Andy

      You know not what you speak of. There are buses every thirty seconds night and day on South Van which is a residential area. The buses belong on Mission and that is where they will stay unless you want them and all of the vehicular traffic on your block. I didn’t think so.

  8. I’m *very8 excited and supportive of eliminating half the stops along Mission — speeding up transit is a key aspect of encouraging more use!

    Likewise, removing a lane of parking and having a dedicated bus lane sounds great — lets make it fast and efficient for the buses and more people will take the bus to/from the mission instead of driving.

    1. Have you even taken the Mission bus before? Fights break out between gang members at least 20% of the time.

  9. I am deeply concerned about the no left turns being between 7-7. This will cause much more traffic to flow on to other streets which are already heavily used. If no cars are allowed on to Cesar Chavez from Mission, how will they get there. You guessed it….South Van,Bryant,FOLSOM, and Harrison.
    I can see no left turn during limited hrs in the morning and evening but 7-7 is unreasonable. How much more traffic can we shift from commercial Sts like Mission and transfer into neighborhoods.

    Seriously….who is making these plans?