Car Culture Wars Rage on Geary

From a pedestrian-friendly Japantown to bus rapid transit, efforts to cut back on cars meet resistance

Two fights along Geary Boulevard in San Francisco show how difficult it is going to be to get people out of their cars to speed up commutes and slow down carbon emmissions.

In Japantown, merchants are reportedly worrying that the pedestrian-friendly redevelopment plan acknowledged by the Planning Commission last month will hurt their businesses by making the area less friendly to drivers.

Part of the plan includes the closure of lanes on Webster Street between Geary and Bush Street to create a neighborhood park.

Meanwhile, Richmond District Supervisor Eric Mar held a public meeting Monday night to discuss plans for a bus rapid transit route along Geary Boulevard.

The plan would devote two of the existing six lanes exclusively to buses, in order to speed up trips along the most heavily trafficked public transportation route served by buses west of the Mississippi.

Again, area merchants opposed the plan, citing the difficulty of doing business while the new BRT route is constructed.

Residents also showed up to express their worry that construction along the new Doyle Drive route backed by Mayor Gavin Newsom to make it easier for cars to drive to and from Marin County will leave the Richmond tied up for years.

Advocates for the BRT were few at the meeting -- though they may have been waiting for Muni's 38 Geary to finally show up at their stop.

Photo by Flickr user Shiny Things.

Jackson West is jealous of the Los Angeles Metro's BRT lines, which put Muni to shame.

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