The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board unanimously approved a measure Tuesday to make several changes along select city streets, including creating temporary emergency bus- and taxi-only lanes.
Muni officials said although traffic congestion in the city remains low due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it's slowly on the rise as some businesses have reopened. With many Muni lines currently out of service due to low ridership and with buses only allowing two-thirds capacity, the temporary transit lanes would help expedite bus service along those routes and decrease wait times.
The temporary transit and taxi lanes will be placed on Mission Street in both directions from 11th to First streets; Masonic Avenue in both directions from Haight Street to Geary Boulevard; Laguna Honda Boulevard in both directions from Clarendon Avenue to Dewey Boulevard; Seventh Street northbound from Townsend to Market streets; Eighth Street southbound from Market to Townsend streets; and O'Shaughnessy Boulevard in both directions from Portola Drive to Bosworth Street.
The measure will also establish bus and taxi only lanes, as well as bike lanes, on Woodside Avenue in both directions from Laguna Honda Boulevard to Portola Drive; Bosworth Street in both directions from Elk to Arlington streets; and Presidio Avenue in both directions from Sacramento Street to Geary Boulevard.
"As traffic returns to San Francisco, these temporary emergency lanes will provide faster bus service that riders can count on. At a time when swift, consistent transit is paramount to our economic recovery and public health, these improvements are sorely needed," transit advocacy organization San Francisco Transit Riders said in a statement Monday.
Albert Chow, president of the People of Parkside Sunset, formerly known as the Taraval Parkside Merchants Association, said although the association seeks to find a balance between pedestrian safety and the parking needs of residents and businesses, it opposes transit and taxi only lanes.
"The rules are that the transit lane is for Muni, taxis and other government vehicles. Regular citizens can only use the lane to make a left or go around a double-parked car which means drivers have to meander back and forth between the lanes -- that's more dangerous. It would be better as it was before with driver using the left lanes to smoothly continue through and leave the right lane to more local maneuvers," he said.