Muni Pursues New Bus Routes and Bike Lanes

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As the pandemic hopefully wanes, Muni lines have been restored, altered, and temporarily or permanently abandoned. 

The 55 Dogpatch began service last January, replacing the 22 Fillmore, which’d shifted the eastern portion of its route as part of the 16th Street Improvement Project. More than 1,000 community members expressed opinions about their preferred route for the 55 Dogpatch; the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) distributed 10,000 information pamphlets, conducted surveys and held three community meetings. The new route for the 55 Dogpatch is intended to enhance transit connections between 16th Street Mission BART, Potrero Hill and Dogpatch. 

The 22 Fillmore had served up to 18,000 riders daily but moved at less than four miles an hour on parts of 16th Street, according to SFMTA. 

Portions of the pre-pandemic route of the suspended 10 Townsend are slated to be restored from Potrero Hill to Sansome and Montgomery streets in the Financial District this summer, according to SFMTA Deputy Spokesperson Stephen Chun. There’s no timeline for return of the 79X Van Ness Arena Express. The 78X 16th Street Arena Express services Chase Center events. 

The 27 Bryant bus route was re-routed more than a year ago to reduce traffic congestion. The current route was approved at a 2021 SFMTA Board of Directors meeting to improve service reliability and benefit from temporary emergency lanes, according to Chun. 

At a July 2021 meeting before the Board of Supervisors, Mayor London Breed said restoring MUNI services is “one of the most challenging for our recovery.” 

SFMTA board members identified hiring as a key component to restore service at board meeting held last month.

In addition to changing and re-routing bus services, SFMTA has been constructing new bike pathways. Quick-Build Projects are part of SFMTA’s Vision Zero plan to rapidly finish pedestrian and cyclist safety projects. The Terry Francois Boulevard and Indiana Street Quick-Build Projects have already been completed. The Evans Avenue Quick-Build was approved at a March SFMTA board meeting, despite vocal opposition that it should be reexamined because it’d dislodge the vehicularly housed. 

“That’s their home,” said Flo Kelly of the Coalition on Homelessness regarding vehicles parked along Evans Avenue. 

Kelly claimed that SFMTA’s outreach focused on alerting businesses about the loss of parking spaces. 

“The folks living in vehicles were not reached out to, and they have no idea they will be displaced,” said a small business owner and 22-year San Francisco resident during the meeting’s public comment. “This is really traumatic for people barely hanging on; you’re going to push them off a cliff,” they continued. 

“This is killing me slowly,” said a woman named Melanie, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, and lives in a vehicle in the Bayview, referring to the loss of 65 or more parking spaces due to the Evans Avenue Quick-Build project. 

Nevertheless, the Quick-Build Project passed with a six to one vote, with an amendment by Director Amanda Eaken to reach out to key stakeholders, including the vehicularly housed. 

“We are committed to making public transit and streets safe,” SFMTA Deputy Spokesperson Stephen Chun wrote in an email. “Through the implementation of the quick-build projects for Terry Francois Boulevard, Indiana Street and Evans Avenue, including deploying the new connection to the 16th Street Corridor via the 55 Dogpatch, we have been able to make lasting and equitable improvements for the pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders of the Potrero and Dogpatch neighborhoods.”