Courtesy of the SFMTA

Mission Street’s public transit is about to change – but not quickly. If you want to have a say, attend tonight’s meeting at the Women’s Building from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or check out the website here and fill out an online survey.

In its Muni Forward program, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is thinking of making at least four changes on Mission between South Van Ness and Cesar Chavez Streets  that will be implemented in 2017. The biggest impact on riders would be a plan to reduce stops from nearly one every block to a stop every other block.

The proposed changes also include bus bulbs at 16th and 20th Streets,  right turn pockets, left turn restrictions,  and redesigning the street to make the traffic lanes wider than the existing nine feet.

The right turn pockets would remove three parking spaces, but would also prevent the backup that happens when a driver is trying to make a right turn, but can’t because of pedestrians crossing in front of them.  The current design, officials said, means that buses end up crossing the dividing yellow line to pass right-turning vehicles that get stuck.

At present there are some left turn restrictions, but the new proposal would limit left turns from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays for the entire stretch from South Van Ness to Cesar Chavez.

An official from the SFMTA presenting the plan to the Mission Merchant’s Association today said the space opened up by taking away bus stops could be used for parking spaces or bike corrals. No decisions have been made.

In terms of widening the nine-foot lanes along Mission Street there are two, possibly three ideas.

The first keeps parking on both sides of the street but creates wider lanes by removing one northbound traffic lane. The second eliminates parking on one side of the street.  The details of both of these plans have yet to be worked out.

A third possibility that one merchant suggested – and SFMTA officials said they had considered and might still – would be to turn Mission into a one way street, and South Van Ness into a one way in the other direction.

Transit officials will be looking for input through the spring and taking a final plan to the SFMTA in the Summer of 2015. Implementation will begin in 2017.

Open House for Mission Improvements: 6p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18

The Women’s Building
3543 18th Street
Nearby Muni Routes: 14, 14L, 33, 49

Courtesy of the SFMTA

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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