Photo by Lola M. Chavez

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority has scheduled a community meeting for 6 p.m. on June 20 at the Mission Cultural Center to discuss the effects of the transit-only lanes and turn restrictions implemented along the Mission Street corridor from 14th Street to 30th Street, which have drawn major backlash from drivers and businesses who say access to the street has become much more difficult since the implementation of the changes.

Businesses along the street have reported revenue losses since the change and blame a reduction of parking spaces, though the Transit Authority reports an overall increase in parking spaces along the corridor due to the removal of bus stops. Some transit riders are dismayed with those removals, citing an additional burden on seniors and transit riders with disabilities.

Supervisor David Campos has been leading an effort to find a compromise agreeable to all users of the street after negative feedback began pouring in to the impending changes. Several stakeholder meetings, closed to the press, have been held to discuss the effects of the changes.

“While I wholeheartedly support the goal of improving Muni reliability and speed, I want to make sure that the project works for everyone and takes into account the unique aspects of the Mission,” Campos said in a written statement.

Residents and business owners have continued to advocate for changes to the new system, and the advocacy group San Francisco Transit Riders has defended the changes. Meanwhile, the Transportation Authority says the transit-only lanes have improved Muni service and brought down collisions:

With eight full weeks of post-implementation results, Muni reliability has improved and travel time has dropped and continues to drop. Furthermore, Muni has seen only one collision in this corridor since late March. Prior to project implementation we experienced three to four per week, which hampered reliability and forced buses out of service. While construction was only recently completed, there has been a significant amount of positive feedback from Muni riders and neighborhood residents. The feedback ranges, but is focused on the appreciation of an improved Muni experience and a feeling of Mission Street being a safer place to walk – primary goals of the project.

Thus far, stakeholder meetings have not produced a compromise, but according to a statement from the Transit Authority’s director Ed Reiskin, the search for a middle ground is not over.

“The SFMTA did not intend to impact businesses and I share merchant concerns about ensuring vibrant commercial activity in the short- and long-term. With our continued work together on this project, I believe we will be able to tweak the project in a way that works for everyone,” wrote Reiskin.

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  1. This red carpet is Buulshit we should have been able to vote on it and as for muni now you don,t stop at all the streets you use to like 29th st handicap people have to walk another block if you can’t get there on time maybe you should change your ETA and to the guy who wrote about safer you need to go back to where you came from on your bike. Down with the Red Lane!

  2. Remove the forced turns! Roll back that carpet! We hear the SFMTA didn’t fix the potholes. They just painted over them. All the buses don’t even driver in those red zones. The entire project is a disaster, but the SFMTA will continue to pat themselves on the back and use taxpayers’ money to pay for their PR hit pieces. The think they do best is gloat.

  3. Keep the red lanes. I think there needs to be a better job of helping drivers navigate the street- the signage is not up to snuff. But yes, I have noticed less car congestion and a better pedestrian environment, which will help, not hurt, the merchants. Bring back the Miracle Mile!

  4. The red carpet needs to go just like racism needs to go. The white eliteist are praying on the hard working hispanics. The elite crackers should be ashamed.

    1. The poorest bus riders in the city getting better service and safer streets for people who walk is somehow a racist attack on working people? Please choose another scapegoat.

  5. The goal of making the buses run more quickly is a good one. I’m just not convinced that the red carpet plan was vetted and analyzed in terms of potential unintended consequences.

    Has SFMTA should also study the impact on the side streets from 24th st. to 16th St, which are on the receiving end of cars forced to turn right off of Mission? What has been the impact on Valencia and South Van Ness? I guarantee you those streets are handling more auto traffic. Does SFMTA have those statistics? If they don’t, then they cannot say they understand the total impact of red carpeting on the community and surrounding streets.

    It seems to me, whether intended or not, the red carpeting has essentially made Mission St. transit-only because motorists find navigating the convoluted forced-turn off scheme too difficult. Many drivers ignore the forced turn offs either because they don’t understand the system or because they know it can’t be enforced with any consistency.

    If the plan was to transform Mission St. to a transit-only corridor, it wasn’t explained to the community as such. But that’s where Mission St. seems headed now.

    One would think Valencia Street, with its bike lanes and pedestrian traffic, would have been a better candidate for a designated transit-only lane.

    Either way, it’s troubling that SFMTA and Supervisor Campos are only talking after the red carpet went down.

  6. I’ve worked at the corner of 16th and Mission since 2001. My office is right above that intersection. I can’t praise SFMTA highly enough for the positive benefits that the new lanes on Mission Street have brought to our neighborhood and the intersection in particular.

    The forced turns have made it safer for pedestrians to walk in that busy intersection.

    The bus-only lanes mean less private cars, less speeding, honking. I can’t tell you how many times a day I had to listen to blaring horns as frustrated motorists leaned on their horns when some unknowing driver tried to turn left.

    The reduced street parking means less drug dealing and other nefarious activity on the street since there’re less places to hide behind. The street is altogether cleaner, calmer, more walkable,

    SFMTA, you’ve shown courage and wisdom in making this plan a reality. You’re doing the right thing here. As a long time Mission District resident and business owner, I salute you. Please let me know if there’s a way I can support the difficult and important work you’re doing along this dense urban corridor.

    1. “The reduced street parking means less drug dealing and other nefarious activity on the street since there’re less places to hide behind.” Uhmm… are you that stupid or do you just play one on the internet?

      1. Insult me all you like. The positive social changes as a result of reduced parking are there for all to see. What was formerly a cordon of illegal and dangerous activity is now a pleasant sidewalk for everyone to use.

        You can see the same positive effect on the sidewalk of Turk St btwn Taylor and Market, where street parking was removed last year.

        1. I don’t know which corner of Mission and 16th Street you are talking about, but the one I am familiar with is pretty funky and smelly. The smell is partly due to the fact that there is a sewer vent that is belching nasty vapors.

  7. Is the idea to make it quicker to “transit” through the Mission, or to serve the Mission with better transit??