City workers installing the transit-only lanes in early 2016. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

San Francisco’s transit agency is proposing to roll back some of the traffic changes made along Mission Street when the city installed red bus-only lanes from 14th Street to Cortland Avenue.  

The Municipal Transit Agency announced on Monday that its board would consider removal of two forced right turns at 22nd and 26th streets in order to give drivers four blocks of through traffic to make businesses along the corridor more accessible.

The agency will also allow taxis to turn left on 21st Street to give cab drivers a more direct route to their destinations, according to the announcement.

Finally, the agency will move a bus stop on Cortland Avenue to the northern end of its intersection with Mission Street to make it easier for passengers to board the bus.

One of the most controversial changes that came with the transit improvement projects, requiring a right turn at Cesar Chavez Street, is not being considered for removal. Concerns from the public that the forced turn needlessly separated the Mission from Bernal Heights, the agency said in its announcement, should be addressed by allowing right turns on 22nd and 26th streets.

But opponents of the project are not satisfied with the suggested changes and say they will continue to put pressure on the agency to make broader changes at an upcoming agency board meeting. One called the right turn at Cesar Chavez “disruptive,” and another told the Examiner that the turn was like a “wall” separating the two areas.

The agency has already made some adjustments to the original transit improvement project, the announcement pointed out, including adding a dedicated right turn signal phase at Cesar Chavez Street, adjusting signal timing at 16th and Capp street and Cesar Chavez and South Van Ness streets to reduce congestion, and finding new locations for mobile food vendors on Mission Street whose spots may have been removed by street configuration changes.

Various neighborhood organizations and businesses are discussing alternative recommendations they would make to the agency’s board to address their concerns. According to the Mission Economic Development Agency’s Gabriel Medina, these include removing the right turn at Cesar Chavez, restoring some of the consolidated bus stops along the corridor, and either removing or time-limiting the other forced right turns along the street. Opponents are also requesting meaningful data on the amount of car traffic, pedestrians, and transit riders along the project area before and after its implementation.

“SFMTA’s objective was to reduce cars on Mission Street, but does not actually reduce cars or traffic overall. The largest population of Mission transit riders (36%) use Mission buses like a jitney within the Mission,” Medina wrote. “But the red lanes have been tailored to rocket ‘choice riders’ over the Mission straight into downtown and reduce bus stops 50 percent.”

The SFMTA board hearing takes place on August 16.

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  1. When I ride the bus, I hear the message in three languages, “Please pay your fair share.” Its time to make downtown pay its fair share of Muni.

    Downtown, the 14 is given complete service, stopping at 2nd,3rd,4th,5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th. While Mission share of bus stops is cut in half. Mission should be treated as half the man of downtown !! And if it has to be like that, at a minimum downtown has twice as many stops as Mission, their fair share is also twice as much.

    Muni, make downtown interests pay their fair share.

    1. “Downtown, the 14 is given complete service, stopping at 2nd,3rd,4th,5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th. While Mission share of bus stops is cut in half…”

      Good Point! If Muni can stop at every block downtown, they can return the stops in the Mission, or create a new express line on Van Ness Ave. that just shuffles people through the Mission.

    2. Most riders who get on the bus in Mission hop on through the back door anyway, so that should even things out.

      1. Good observation about where some people cheating on the two dollar price of a Muni ride. Downtown PG&E, who pays to send Mayor out of the country when politics is going bad for him, cheats by deadly creating infernos in San Bruno, hiding the paperwork, and criminal obstructing the probe.

        This is about who you identify with, PG&E and their cheats, or the Mission people and their cheats. Don’t cut Muni service for the Mission in half, and call it a service improvement!!!

  2. That last quote from Medina expresses a truth.. SFMTA is saying that the buses are getting through the Mission 1 to 2 minutes quicker than before they removed half the bus stops. But if I get on the bus in the middle of the Mission, that’d only be 30 to 45 seconds saved. And, if I walk one extra block on either end, the trip has taken longer than before.

    Normally, its probably healthy that I get the extra blocks of walking: but if I have limited mobility, caring bags, or in a rush, it could be a problem.

    “The largest population of Mission transit riders (36%) use Mission buses like a jitney within the Mission,” Medina wrote. “But red lanes have been tailored to rocket ‘choice riders’ over the Mission straight into downtown and reduce bus stops 50 percent.”

  3. I’ll be honest: I work in the Mission (off 16th and off 21st) and the ride on both the 14 & 49 have gotten significantly faster with the consolidated bus stops. They used to stop on almost every block and that really discouraged me from taking the bus – at times, walking was faster.

  4. Mission Warriors will be out in force with concerned citizens intent on stopping the redlining into other neighborhoods. This project was the one that broke the camel’s back. The Supervisors, overwhelmed with complaints, placed a Charter Amendment on the ballot to allow voters an opportunity to vote to cut repeal the overreach of the SFMTA. Come to the meeting on Tuesday the 16th and let the Board hear your complaints. Join us:

  5. Convince me that all the streets in the Mission shouldn’t be one-way, every last one a la Manhattan. Especially Mission St. Why are drivers slaughtering pedestrians, bikers, and other drivers? Because they’re wound up tighter than a bow with all the seemingly unnecessary impediments to efficient travel, especially the north-south corridors. Repeat after me: the north-south corridors. The north-south corridors. Franklin St is a disaster: construction delay after construction delay with no additional time allotted to the lights at choke points. This has gone on for years. South of Market has never been worse. Guerrero St: the left turn imbeciles back up everyone leading to unwise maneuvering by other drivers including bombing through red lights. San Francisco is part Hwy 101. Many drivers are just passing through trying to get to the freeways. They couldn’t care less about our little traffic idiosyncrasies. This City and the SFMTA must do everything in its power to get drivers to the city limits as fast and efficiently as possible. What about lower 24th St? There should be no parking at all between Capp and Valencia. The buses can barely squeeze by as it is and the least little blockage backs up traffic for blocks. Why weren’t the bus stops indented at the intersection of Mission? The bumbling by SFMTA is endless as is the whole transportation hierarchy in this city. The powers that be think that they did such an admirable job but if they did any follow up studies they’d see all they did was push traffic on to the side streets. That’s a fact. But hey, at least no styrofoam cups, sugary drinks or plastic bags.

    1. SFMTA is doing a poor job.

      The public doesn’t trust this group of people to solve the problem. They could have a good idea but since they show us no respect, we don’t listen. We need a new board and better oversight by the Board of Supervisors.

      Some people want an elected board, but, this SFMTA Charter Amendment, that changes the makeup of the Board and reduces the number of Supervisors required to oppose funding programs to a simple majority, put on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors, is a good first step to solving the authority problem. Passage of this bill will force major changes on the SFMTA Board.

      We like to see less streets under construction at one time and less taxpayer dollars spent on capital projects. Vote NO on the sales tax increase to reduce funding and YES on the Charter Amendment.

      1. possibly the worst pro progressive trolling i’ve ever seen. you’re clearly so uninformed about what is going on to debate you would be like debating a flea. lol!

    2. That is one tightly packed comment.

      Part of the answer is: for most people who love San Francisco, we don’t aspire to be a copy of Manhattan. We like our quirks, and distinct manner, customs, and personality, – so – even if, one way streets are more efficient, and 28 story buildings higher valued, we don’t want to be a copy of NYC.

      1. Hey B, not sure what side of the coin you’re on but public transportation in Manhattan is considerably more efficient than San Francisco. Likewise, they move a lot more cars on their streets than we do in much more adverse conditions. Think rain and ice slick roads, freezing temperatures. What are our quirks, distinct manners, customs, and personalities you hold so dear? Our filthy streets? Our unsafe streets? Our provincial, small minded, self centered politicians and neighborhood advocates? I don’t speak for myself. I work from home, I have a three car garage, I live within a ten minute walk of BART, and haven’t been on a bicycle since I was fourteen years old due in no small part to the fact I value my health too much to ride city streets on a bike. Let’s just say getting run over by cars a couple times growing up made me much more cautious about theses things. Most certainly one way streets will get traffic moving much better and most certainly a lane here and there could be devoted to cyclists. How about the geniuses that designed the on ramp at Market and Octavia? All that traffic coming down Market must dogleg through the neighborhoods to get on the freeway. For a few cyclists? Sorry, that’s pea-brained thinking. By the way, real men don’t eat sushi.