A pair of painted transit-only lanes — the first of their kind in The City — are set to debut next month on a notoriously congested section of Church Street, an approach likely to be adopted on other busy arteries.
The two middle lanes of Church Street from 16th to Duboce streets will be painted red, with private cars banned and left turns restricted at certain corners as part of a plan to speed up service on Muni’s J-Church light-rail line and 22-Fillmore bus route. Church Street’s four auto lanes would be reduced to two.
Church Street is set to be the first of a network of transit corridors, with similar projects planned for stretches of Columbus Avenue, Fulton Street and other thoroughfares. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is working out a final plan with riders, merchants and residents, said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA chief.
Ron Austin, spokesman for the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, called the project a positive step to speed up transit.
“You have to start somewhere,” Austin said. “Dealing with automobile traffic is certainly one of the most stressful parts of our job — this would help with that.”
No parking will be removed from Church Street, which sits well with Steven Adams of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro.
“It’s nice to see that Muni is trying to speed up the J-Church without taking away parking,” Adams said. “I think a more efficient J-Church line could really contribute to the renaissance that seems to be taking place in the neighborhood.”
Such lanes have sped up transit in other cities, said Ben Kaufman of the Transit Riders Union. Elevated lanes would be a better solution, he said, but this proposal could set the stage for bigger things.
“We’re happy to see The City is serious about establishing a real network of rapid-transit lines,” Kaufman said.
The SFMTA will meet with the neighborhood at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the Gazebo Room of the CPMC Davies Campus at 45 Castro St. to discuss the proposal, which goes up for approval at a committee meeting Aug. 31. If approved, painting will begin in mid-September.
Other roads slated for painted transit-only lanes:
Street, Muni line